By Hannah Lester
This weekend, hit up two Christmas parades to really get into the spirit.
The Opelika Christmas Parade will take place Dec. 5 at 4:30 p.m. in downtown Opelika.
Snow will fill the courthouse square, and Opelika residents will experience the magic of Christmas this year for the Opelika Christmas Parade.
“The Christmas Parade is a tradition that goes back many, many years in Opelika and everyone loves it,” said Ali Rauch, president and CEO of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce. “So we really wanted to make sure we had a parade.”
This year, the parade will be reversed, however, and instead of standing still as floats drive past, those who come to watch the parade will now walk around town to view each entry.
“The people who are normally driving in the parade, the entries, they will actually be stationary and parked,” Rauch said. “So all of our parade entries will be parked in designated spots around courthouse square. And people have the option of either decorating their space and leaving it set up with their logo and information on it or staying in their space.”
The fun won’t end when the parade route does. The “Snow Much Fun Christmas Extravaganza” will combine the annual parade with an event created last year called Snowpelika, Rauch said.
The event will feature a socially-distanced Santa Claus and conclude with a Christmas tree lighting, all while snow fills the courthouse square.
Given the warmer-than-average temperature of Alabama and regular lack of snow, Opelika’s snow does not depend on the weather.
“Kids who have never seen snow, it might be artificial snow, but it still is real snow that we create,” Rauch said.
The changes were enacted to encourage social distancing and comply with COVID-19 guidelines.
There will be a total of 65-70 groups of people who will participate in the parade this year, Rauch said.
“We want to provide this service that brings such joy to our community,” she said.