Pelham’s first Hometown Christmas Parade is all about unity

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Halloween is just around the corner, but Christmas plans are underway in the city of Pelham. City Councilmember Rick Wash and Pelham’s Chad Leverett have been planning Pelham’s very first Hometown Christmas Parade, set to take place on Dec. 11.

Leverett and Wash have been working on the parade details for months, and Leverett said they couldn’t be happier at the direction it’s taking. They recently brought on the 2016 Miss Alabama winner, Hayley Barber DeShazo, as the parade’s Grand Marshal.

The idea of the parade came from Wash and Leverett both wanting to plan something that would bring the community together after the COVID-19 pandemic. Leverett said the central theme of the parade is unity, and everyone has been so supportive.

“I feel like the timing of this inaugural event couldn’t have come at a better time,” Leverett said. “My son talks about it all the time. His friends talk about it. I run into people out at restaurants who are talking about it. I talk to City Leaders who are talking about it. Everyone is talking about this parade.”

Leverett said they just recently opened the event up for sponsors, and they have received a huge response from various local businesses.

“America’s First Federal Credit Union has stepped up to be the events Presenting Sponsor,” he said. “Along with AmFirst we have Technique Automotive, Harris Doyle Homes, Delta Blues Hot Tamales, and A Birthday Place who have sponsored the event.”

Leverett said they expect many more sponsors to come, and they are open to any and all businesses who wish to help make the parade as special as possible.

The Hometown Christmas Parade will start at 5 p.m. on Dec. 11, and will route from the Pelham Civic Complex to Hwy 31, then to Hwy 119 to State Park Road and will end back at the Live Nation VIP parking area of Oak Mountain Amphitheater. The Pelham High School marching band is set to perform throughout the parade. After the parade, Leverett said the annual Christmas Tree Lighting will take place inside the Pelham Civic Complex ice arena. After Dec. 11, the tree will remain up outside the Civic Complex through the Christmas holidays.

After the tree lighting, the Civic Complex will have food and beverages available from the concession stand and also special treats in the banquet hall, as well as opening both ice rinks for free ice skating. Children will be thrilled to hear that Santa and Mrs. Claus will be present during the parade, and will be taking pictures in the Civic Complex banquet hall from 7-9 p.m.

Popular radio station 93.3 FM The River will be broadcasting the parade live, and Jeff Speegle and Gina Womack will also be co-broadcasting the parade through the radio. Justin Foster with the High School and his broadcasting students will be streaming the parade live with The River broadcast feed.

Leverett said there is still plenty of room for those who wish to have a float present in the parade.

“So far, just over half of the allotted float applications have been taken,” he said. “The easiest way to apply is to locate the Pelham Strong Facebook page and go into the December 11th event A Pelham Hometown Christmas. The float application link is posted several times in the Pelham Strong page and also in the event.”

Leverett expressed his gratitude to everyone helping him and Wash make the parade a reality.

“At least happening this year, without God bringing Rick and I together and then the awesome group of advisory board members implementing the thousands of hours in planning, then our great city of Pelham wouldn’t be having this inaugural parade,” Leverett said. “A big thank you to God, to the advisory board members and also to the dozens of volunteers who are being assembled right now to make sure this event happens and is something we all can be proud of.”

Any businesses interested in sponsoring the event can email for additional information.