Clanton Christmas parade brings joy despite weather
Published 2:02 pm Monday, December 10, 2018
By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer
Intermittent rain on Dec. 7 did not keep the Clanton Christmas Parade from lighting up downtown and bringing joy to local families.
Children scurried after candy as it was thrown and exclaimed at their favorite floats.
The parade, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Chilton County and the City of Clanton, featured floats from many organizations and businesses.
Judges in the float contest chose Signature Studio of Dance as the first-place winner. The float featured students dancing to a hip-hop song about The Grinch.
“We wanted to do something different,” studio owner Stephanie Genard said. “We wanted to do The Grinch, which has been done before, so we thought we would put a twist on it and have a little hip hop Grinch.”
Each dancer was dressed as a Who from Whoville.
“We have the baby Grinch riding in the sleigh along with all the little Whos, and then we have The Grinch rapping at the front of the sleigh as it crash landed into Whoville,” Genard said.
She said there were about 24 of the studio’s dancers riding the float. Genard enjoys the hometown feel and watching the children during the parade.
Parents of the dancers constructed the float.
The Hatley Express train car float, constructed by Hatley Health Care and Rehabilitation, won second place.
“We were trying to do something that we thought the kids would be interested in,” Amy Daniel of Hatley said.
Employees, their children and some grandchildren were riding the float. They threw packets of hot chocolate with golden train tickets and jingle bells to the crowd.
It was the first time the organization has participated in about 20 years.
Fierce Sports and Recreation won third place.
The float featured Christmas in the park with colored lights hung on trees. Owner Cyndel Williams said the team was inspired by themes researched on the internet.
Jefferson State Community College’s Chilton-Clanton campus also had a colorful float this year with its Christmas candyland theme.
Associate Dean Ashley Kitchens said they wanted a design that “was colorful and bright … and kind of whimsical.” The float featured an array of colors and candy with a giant teddy bear.
Kitchens said the college’s student ambassadors helped build the float.
“The ambassadors are kind of the face of Jeff State,” Kitchens said. “The ambassadors are there at any new student orientation that we do … and any time we do anything with legislatures or people that visit our campuses, we ask our ambassadors to that.”
The students also participate in team-building activities and campus tours.
Faith Riders chose “Christmas through the eyes of a child” as the theme for this year’s float, featuring a living room scene at Christmas time with a Nativity.
“The main reason we do it is to try to bring people to Christ,” Rodney Williams said.
He said the event also serves as an end-of-year party for the group.
Many participants were returning from previous years, while some were participating for the first time. This was the case for Caleb and Brittany Gray.
The Grays portrayed Joseph and Mary on the Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints’ float.
While it was there first time riding a float in the parade, the couple had attended the parade as spectators in the past.
“I like to look at all the floats and the spirit that radiates and the energy of the parade,” Caleb said.
He also enjoys seeing the excitement on the children’s faces.
Crossroads Building Supply also had a float for the first time this year.
Bryan Willis of Crossroads said his wife and some of the female employees chose a gingerbread house theme for the float.
He said it was a good opportunity “to support the community” and promote the business.
Employees and their children were riding the float.
Willis enjoyed seeing the other floats and “the effort everybody puts into it.”
Shaina Tracy was riding her horse in the parade for the first time.
“I think it’s a lot of fun,” Tracy said. “I enjoy seeing the excitement on people’s faces.”
Photos available for purchase at shelbycountyphotos.com/By-Schoolcity/ClantonJemisonChilton-County/2018-12-07-Clanton-Christmas-parade/