COTR plans are under way

Published 9:36 pm Friday, August 14, 2009

Although the thermometer outdoors still reads 100 degrees on many days, preparation for the 2009 Christmas on the River festival is currently in full swing.

The Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce has been busy for the past eight months getting ready for the annual area-wide celebration scheduled for Nov. 29 through Dec. 5.

“We always start meeting in January,” said Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce president Kelley Smith. “We meet monthly, and our last meeting was held last Tuesday. Everything is going just fine and on schedule.”

The meeting addressed issues such as the schedule of events, publicity, sponsorships, and promotions.

Smith and those involved with COTR have already secured an integral part of the week-long festival, the grand marshal.

“We have selected the grand marshal, but we are not going to name who it is yet,” Smith said. “We want to wait until around the first week in October and announce it in conjunction with the Christmas on the River pageants.”

Christmas on the River will have much of the cherished entertainment that has been enjoyed over the years.

“We will still have the Alabama BoyChoir on Tuesday night and ‘A Christmas Carol’ on that Wednesday night,” Smith said.

Despite the progress, fundraising is presenting the largest obstacle to the planning process this year.

“Fundraising is by far the biggest challenge at this point,” Smith said. “Our goal is being able to provide the same quality event that people have been used to in the past five to 10 years.”

That goal is attainable with increased volunteerism and participation from the community.

“We can always use more volunteers,” Smith said. “We have all our committee chairmen in place, but we still need volunteers.”

Individuals and businesses interested in entering a float in the parade should contact the Chamber office at 289-0270.

Smith encourages those interested in participating in the day parade to take advantage of the float-building workshops.

“We’ve had three workshops to build floats already,” Smith said. “We will have two or three more in the fall until we start continuous work on the floats.”

Recreational vehicle (RV) registration for COTR is also scheduled to open on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 8:30 a.m. at the Chamber office.

“Last year, the first person was in line at 4:30 in the morning,” Smith said.

The next COTR planning meeting will be on Tuesday, Aug. 18, at 5:15 p.m. at the Chamber office. Those interested in volunteering should attend the meeting or call 289-0270.