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COTR gets ready to set sail

Check your calendars. December is upon us, bringing with it Demopolis’ Annual Christmas on the River.

As the holiday staple nears its fortieth year, this year’s installment features several new features and components.

Among the most notable changes is the addition of seven new floats to the nautical parade, which sets sail at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“A lot of people have put a lot of work into these floats,” this year’s Christmas on the River Chairman, Joe Parr, said. “We’re proud to have some new ones out on the water. The Coast Guard has been a huge help; securing floats even help wiring them.”

Parr noted the list of volunteers and manpower the event has received was long and expressed appreciation to everyone who has helped to pull this year’s event together.

“There’s no way I could ever thank everybody enough for all they’ve done,” he said.

Another notable change will be that patrons of the barbecue competition will be treated to complimentary barbecue with their paid admission Friday night, as well as a concert.

“We’ve got about 100 pounds of pork that we intend to pass out to those who purchase a ticket to get into the barbecue grounds,” Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce Director Jenn Tate said. “We’ll pass that out for as long as it lasts. But even if you don’t get something to eat, we’ll have good entertainment.”

Strange Brew will perform Friday night, with the possibility of being joined for a song or two by the COTR Grand Marshall, Nashville recording artist Ashton Shepherd.

The Gala will effectively conclude the 2010 festivities at the Demopolis Civic Center.