Christmas festivities get underway this weekend

Illuminated Christmas tree

The arrival of December brings on a flurry of holiday activities, starting with multiple Christmas parades and other events in DeKalb County this weekend. New information has been announced about events, including an appearance by Pete the Cat from the popular children’s books created by Fort Payne native James Dean following the parade.

On Saturday, Dec. 5th, parades are scheduled for Rainsville, Ider, Sylvania and Henagar, while Valley Head is also lighting a community Christmas tree and the Candy Cane Lane at the Alabama Walking Park in Fort Payne will showcase trees decorated by area businesses and clubs.

Fort Payne’s Christmas festivities are planned for Friday, Dec. 11, including the 48th Annual Christmas Parade and the 36th Annual Christmas in the Park, presented by the City of Fort Payne and Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce. Parades are also scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12 in Fyffe, Geraldine, Crossville and Collinsville.

Fort Payne Parks and Recreation Director Robin Brothers announced the Christmas in the Park will take place from 4-6 p.m. in City Park, immediately followed by the annual Christmas Parade at 6 p.m. in downtown Fort Payne, led by Grand Marshals Outfield Angels. The Fort Payne Christmas Parade will be livestreamed for anyone who wishes to watch from the comfort of home by visiting https://www.fpcsk12.com/fptv.

Immediately following the parade, children can get their picture made for free posing with Pete the Cat at Katherine’s Gallery & Custom Framing at 100 Gault Avenue North in Fort Payne from 7-9 p.m. A summer festival built around Pete the Cat was canceled this year due to concerns about community spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, so this is a chance to celebrate the popular books and artwork.

The pandemic is still an unfortunate reality that even the holiday spirit can’t overcome, so organizers are asking everyone attending events this month to wear a face covering and practice social distancing as recommended by current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).

“Due to health precautions, there will be no face to face visits with Santa, but the holly old elf will be at Christmas in the Park to say hello and will have a mailbox out for people to drop off letters to Santa. There will also be refreshments available,” Brothers said.

Brothers asked that people stay home if they or anyone in their household are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and include:

• Fever or chills

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• Fatigue

• Muscle or body aches

• Headache

• New loss of taste or smell

• Sore throat

• Congestion or runny nose

• Nausea or vomiting

• Diarrhea

Alabama’s mask mandate is set to expire on Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to announce prior to that whether it will be extended or her amended Safer at Home order will end.

Although this Christmas may look and feel a bit different, the scheduled events bring a welcome dose of the holiday spirit to brighten the sense of community.

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