Calera hosts annual Christmas parade, overcomes weather worries

Published 4:06 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2023

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

CALERA – Despite the early weather concerns and a few other preceding factors, hundreds lined Main Street Calera with high spirits and Christmas cheer to take part in the city’s lauded holiday event on the night of Saturday, Dec. 2.

Organized by Calera’s Parks and Recreation department, the time-honored tradition loved by local residents made its annual return and featured the theme of “Santa’s Workshop.” With a night forecasted for rain, and with a light misting taking place in Calera right up until the start of the procession, the parade got underway at 6 p.m. and saw a window of dry weather open up for the remainder of the event.

“The parade was a huge hit in spite of the weather,” said Jackie Batson, executive director of Calera Main Street. “It was dry once the parade started and the temperature was perfect.”

The Calera Community Center, next to Calera Intermediate School, served as the events starting position. Floats and marching participants then traveled northbound toward Calera City Hall in a route that took them straight down Main Street and downtown Calera. As in year’s past, the National Guard Armory adjacent to City Hall served as the endpoint of the city’s Christmas march.

Unlike a number of other municipalities in the area, the Calera Christmas Parade had the characteristic of beginning late in the evening and truly getting underway after nightfall. This distinction created the unplanned advantage of timing the event just in time to miss the light rain that was present in the afternoon.

The recently dampened streets and misty air unexpectedly served not only to reflect and better accent the lighting and festive decorations not just on the floats, but also on Main Street itself.

Participants in the parade included city council members, youth football teams, the Calera High School Band, athletes, cheerleaders, representatives from other local organizations and local business owners.

Despite the parade’s successful turnout, the early afternoon weather did dissuade a good number of local residents from attending in person. However, unlike in year’s past, this did not mean Calera residents would miss out on the event in its entirety as the festivities were live streamed and recorded for future viewing, with the broadcast hosted by Jackie Batson and Ben Nelson.

“This was our first time live streaming the event,” Batson said. “We learned a lot and will make it better next year with more cameras and speakers, but we still had a great time doing it.”

Batson did report that due to technical difficulties in setting up the first parade live stream, an alert was sent out to some that indicated the parade had been canceled.

Unlike Alabaster, which had in fact delayed their parade due to weather concerns, the alert sent out in regard to Calera’s parade was sent in error. Although it was corrected, it was a technical glitch that caused some to change their evening plans and it is believed that it slightly affected the physical turnout to event. Even so, residents who missed out on the event can easily find the fully recorded parade procession on Calera Main Street’s Facebook page.

“We hate that happened but at least they can watch it online now,” Batson said. “It has been viewed hundreds of times already and has had more comments than any other post we’ve shared all year.”