Unsung holiday heroes

Published 12:18 pm Monday, December 12, 2022

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

As we’re approaching Christmas, more and more towns and cities are holding their annual holiday festivities. There are Christmas parades, tree lightings, or in the case of Alabaster, a water tower lighting.

As we enjoy these events and others that our municipalities put on, it is easy to miss the amount of work and effort behind the scenes that goes into planning and carrying them out.

When discussing the success of Columbiana’s Christmas parade, Manager of Community and Fair Services, Ali Payne expressed her thanks to those who helped make the event happen.

“The Columbiana Police Department, they make sure everybody gets in line,” Payne said. “They line everybody up and do all of the hard work as far as keeping people back out of the street. They are a huge help. And also, to Bruce Andrews and Ricky Ruston, who ran sound during the events Friday Night. We could not have done it without them.”

The police have to direct traffic, set up barricades and make sure that parade goers are safe. Likewise, workers have to ensure that the sound systems are working for stages and that lights are properly set up for tree lightings.

“We are so appreciative for all the city employees who worked hard to make the events successful,” Alabaster Public Relations Manager Neal Wagner said in reference to the city’s holiday festivities.

Helena’s Mayor Brian Puckett expressed his thanks to those that assisted with Christmas in Helena.

“I want to thank all the hard work from the Helena Beautification Board for the Tree Lighting and Market,” Puckett said. “And then, I want to thank the Parade Committee and the tireless hours that they put in throughout the year to make the parade such a memorable parade every year.”

City officials have to work together to decide upon a date that would be as close to convenient as possible for everyone. Parade routes have to be planned and registration plans have to be set up for floats and contest entries.

There are also the smaller aspects that help make the experience extra special. Businesses stay open later or travel with food trucks. Citizens set up vendor stands to display and sell goods. Musical acts, dance acts and school organizations have to put in practice to prepare for their live performances.

A significant amount of effort is put forth every holiday season in order to make these events possible for the general public. The parades and tree lightings see a tremendous amount of success, but the efforts of many of the people who help put these events together go unsung.