“Authors Crawl” provides affordable entertainment

The Shoals Writers Guild is presenting its first ever “Christmas in the Renaissance City Authors Crawl.” This weekend-long event will start Friday, Dec. 2, and will be in conjunction with “Old Fashioned Christmas” on First Fridays.

Authors, editors and illustrators will be inside businesses in downtown Florence. The participating businesses will have a poster announcing the author and the time they will be present.

The Crawl will take place Dec. 2 from 3:30 – 7:30 p.m., Dec. 3 from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and Dec. 4 from 11a.m. – 5 p.m.

Joy Willow, founder and chair of The Shoals Writers Guild, said this event will be their fundraiser.

“The purpose of collaborating with First Fridays’ ‘Old Fashioned Christmas’ is to get people to come inside the stores and boost sales, as well as give the authors exposure,” she said.

Willow said she will show her movie “The Orchard Baby” at the event at Court Street Market for the three days.

Willow said Amazon best seller Howard Wiggins, from Nashville, will be at Court Street Market on Sunday. He wrote the interior design book “What Were You Thinking? (Recognizing costly mistakes that everyone makes).”

“I think it would be interesting to go to, especially because it is close to campus,” said freshman Rikki Clark. “It’s good for the authors’ exposure. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for the book lover.”

People will have motivation to visit all participating businesses, she said.

“Each day at the end of the crawl, a basket of autographed books will be given away at Court Street Market,” she said. “Drawings will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 5 p.m. on Sunday.”

To be eligible to win, participants must stop by each of the crawl stops on that day and obtain a sticker, Willow said. They must give their completed crawl attendance guides to Saint Nicholas at the ANCO Building on the corner of Mobile Plaza and Court Street. Participants do not have to be present to win.

In conjunction with First Fridays Dec. 2, the Shoals Writers Guild is sponsoring a foot parade called the “St. Nicholas March.”

“The parade will start promptly at 5:15 p.m,” Willow said. “Formation will start at 5 p.m. outside of Fred’s on Court Street for anyone who would like to join.”

The Madrigal Singers will perform in the parade and will invite people to sing with them, Willow said.

“We would prefer full costumes, at least a scarf and boots, but (we) encourage anyone who would like to carol to join in,” she said.

The parade will end at the intersection of Court and Mobile Streets. Saint Nicholas will remain there for the duration of the crawl for children to visit.

People interested in going can buy tickets for $5. The ticket is good for all three days of the event and 10 percent off purchases from both the author and certain hosting businesses.

“The tickets are cheap, so people are likely to go,” said junior Kayla Collier. “The 10 percent discount is also a great deal.”

Anyone who plans to attend the crawl can purchase a ticket from The Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts until Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. If the weather permits, the organization will sell tickets at the event.