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Welcome to Christmas on the River!

Welcome, residents and newcomers alike, to the greatest Christmas festival that I have ever seen, and I think that, once the day is done, you will think so, too!

This is the 38th annual Christmas on the River festival, and as you can probably already tell, today is the biggest day of the year for the city of Demopolis! With two parades, the humongous Fair in the Square, the Jingle Bell Run, the Kids’ Fun Run, Hansel and Gretel and the great fireworks finale, if there is one day when you need to be in Demopolis during the year, today is the day!

Many people who have lived in Demopolis for a number of years remember these festivals like most Alabamians remember Iron Bowls. It has grown to be a great tradition and a part of Demopolis life since 1972. For me, one of the most exciting parts of the festival is to meet newcomers and people from out of town who are returning to see the show.

Yesterday, I made my way through the square downtown as it was being transformed into the Fair in the Square and talked with some of the vendors who were setting up their booths. Each one that I talked to was from out of town, and each was making a return trip after having success with sales at previous festivals. Very often, people find Christmas presents for that hard-to-buy-for family member or friend at Christmas on the River.

The grand finale to the week is the nighttime river parade, “where the floats really float,” as the old slogan goes. For first-timers and longtime observers, it is a favorite event to see the creativity that goes into each river float and to watch the great fireworks display throughout the night.

I hope you all enjoy this year’s Christmas on the River and make plans to come back for COTR 2010. It is something special that is truly our own!

David B. Snow is the managing editor of the Demopolis Times.