City gears up for 43rd COTR

Published 3:14 pm Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The 43rd annual Christmas on the River celebration will kick off Wednesday and continue through Saturday with events for the whole family.

Wednesday, the lighting of the Love Light Tree and the announcement of the COTR Special Child will be held at 5 p.m. at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital. Last year, Generria Brown was named the COTR Special Child.

On Thursday, Dec. 4, the Lighting of the Public Square, the crowning of St. Nick and the reading of the Christmas Story will be held downtown at 5:30 p.m. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held at the Demopolis Civic Center. J.R. Rivas was named St. Nick last year.

The Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce defines St. Nicholas as a Demopolis resident who best portrays the spirit of Christmas all year long.

He or she is someone who brightens your day when you see them or goes the extra mile when you need a little boost.

This person is someone who has made a positive impact on your life or the lives of your children.

On Friday, Dec. 5, from 5-8 p.m., the Candlelight Evening at Gaineswood will feature open-back banjo player John Bultman. Admission is $5 for the event.

From 5:30-8 p.m., Christmas in the Canebrake will be held at Bluff and Lyon halls with $5 admission of adults.

Children 12 and under can get in free. The historic homes will be decorated for Christmas, and there will be live entertainment throughout the evening at both homes.

Beginning at 5 p.m., the Alabama State Championship Barbecue Cook-off will be held at George Franks Ball Field at the Demopolis City Landing. Admission is $5, and samples will be given to the public by competitors. There will be live music by Fast Eddie.

Saturday’s events will start at 7:30 a.m. with the Fair in the Square downtown where vendors will be set up with food, crafts and more.

Registration for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk will begin at 8 a.m., and the 5K race will start at 9 a.m.

Bluff Hall will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Gaineswood will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Admission at Bluff Hall will be $5 for adults and $3 for students, and admission at Gaineswood will be $5.

At 11:30 a.m., the annual COTR Day Parade will begin downtown. Christy Kyser Truitt will serve as this year’s Grand Marshal. She was Miss Christmas on the River in 1988.

Judging for the cook-off will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and trophies and checks will be presented at 2 p.m. at the city landing.

The Nautical Parade and Fireworks Display will begin at 6:30 p.m., and will be viewable from the banks of the Tombigbee River.

The fireworks will immediately follow the parade.

The Christmas on the River Gala will be at the Demopolis Civic Center from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with semi-formal attire required.

The final event of the weekend, the Christmas on the River Dance, will last from 9 p.m. to midnight at the Civic Center. Participants must be 21 or older.