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The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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A preview of the Florence Christmas Parade


On Dec. 7, the annual Florence Christmas Parade will be moving through Historic Downtown Florence. The parade will begin at 7 p.m. and will begin on Court Street and end at Wilson Park.

This year’s parade will be presented by Bank Independent and organized by the Downtown Florence Alliance. The parade’s theme will be “The Sights and Sounds of Christmas.”

“We’re asking businesses, community groups, non-profits, and the city to all get their creative juices going and come up with something that really fits into that theme and run with it,” Chris Stangel, Executive Director of the Downtown Florence Alliance, said. “We are seeing that folks are already coming up with some ideas. There is a lot to work with in that theme, and we are hoping that folks really run with it.”

Stangel says that the DFA is expecting at least seventy to eighty groups to participate in this year’s parade. 

“[The groups] include marching bands and a whole host of floats […] We’ve got marching bands who compete quite vigorously for a top prize,” Stangel said. “There is a judging panel right at Mobile Plaza as [the parade] crosses Court Street, and the judges panel is reviewing based on the category. One of the fiercest competitions is certainly the band competition.” 

The Alliance is hoping to feature up to eight high school marching bands in the parade this year, with Florence High School and Brooks High School already set to perform.

Stangel also hopes to feature floats from several crowd favorite organizations such as Florence Animal Hospital, Southern Hospitality and several others. Florence Animal Hospital plans to return to the parade this year with their perennial “Noah’s Ark” themed float. 

“When I moved to Florence, I moved down here to work at the emergency clinic, and I was always tied up late at night, so I never got to attend the parade,” Dr. Bryan Bingham, owner of the animal hospital, said.

While watching the parade for the first time, he and his staff decided they would participate the following year. The theme? Noah’s Ark. Bingham and his staff thought it tied in well with an animal hospital. Despite not allowing real animals on board, the staff of the animal hospital will be donning animal costumes themselves, with Bingham taking on the role of Noah.

“The actual float is an ark,” Bingham said. “The way that the float is designed, it is difficult to get real animals on board. We have thought about it but it is just a little bit more complicated […] The way that it is designed, it is hard to put the focus on real animals.” 

Southern Hospitality, the parent company of many Florence staples such as 306 Barbeque, Big Bad Breakfast and The Boiler Room, is gearing up for the parade as well. Following the company’s float entry last year, which was centered around the retro-styled soul band “Coffee Black,” Southern Hospitality hopes to surprise parade viewers with their take on this year’s theme. 

“We are excited to participate, as a local business,” said Christina Hernandez, Marketing Director for Southern Hospitality. “We are really considered a small local business because we are locally owned and operated. We hire UNA students […] and we also offer discounts for the community, especially for veterans and for students. We are very community driven and we like to give back to the community as much as possible.”

She also spoke of programs like 306 Barbecue’s “Holiday Meal Deals,” student employment benefits and more.

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About the Contributor
Trevor Mickle
Trevor Mickle, A&E Editor
Trevor is a freshman student from Jemison, Alabama, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Digital Media Production. Trevor is excited to get involved on campus help keep students informed on important topics in our community.

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