Lafferty to serve as Grand Marshal in Fort Payne parade

Signups are underway for the 47th Annual Fort Payne Christmas Parade, which will be held on Dec. 9.

Actress Sandra Ellis Lafferty is this year’s Grand Marshal, and accordingly, floats in the parade are suggested to have a theme relating to classic Christmas movies.

“We already have groups planning to do floats referencing the movies ‘Frozen,’ ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ and ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,’” said Jennifer McCurdy, Executive Director of the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the parade for the city.

Lafferty is best known for her roles in the films “Walk the Line,” “Hunger Games,” “Prisoners,” “Self/Less,” and “A Walk in the Woods.” As a stage actress, she performs with the Denver Center Theatre Company and League of Resident Theaters. She made the leap to movies at age 50, sharing the big screen with A-list movie stars like Robert Redford, Jennifer Lawrence, Ryan Reynolds, Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, and Jake Gyllenhaal. She has five more movies in post-production, including projects with Sean Astin and Kelsey Grammer. She was a guest artist for the Northeast Alabama Community College’s production of “Driving Miss Daisy.”

Lafferty volunteers at the Mentone Arts & Cultural Center, where she serves as artistic director mentoring high school theater students.

With her presence inspiring touches of Hollywood glamour, the stage is set for a parade to remember.

Beginning at 4:00 p.m. the night of the Christmas Parade, Vulcraft will again host its Holiday Market, as a fundraiser for the DeKalb County Children's Advocacy Center. Holiday Market will be across the street from the chamber office in the 301 Building, with a large selection of Christmas gifts. Plus, free hot chocolate, presented by Twin City Used Car Sales.

Christmas in the Park will be held on Dec. 6, with a Shop and Stroll in downtown Fort Payne. The Christmas Parade is the following Monday, Dec. 9.

“The Christmas Parade and festivities are really a fun time for families, and the Fort Payne Chamber always looks forward to helping make the Christmas Parade magical,” McCurdy said.

Sign up forms can be emailed, but participants will need to come by the office before Dec. 1 to get the physical parade pass for the lineup. There is no charge for Chamber members to participate with one vehicle in the parade, each additional vehicle is $25. That is the cost of the entry fee for all non-floats, i.e, vehicles and flatbed trailers with people riding on them without float decorations, including beauty pageant winners. Businesses, churches, civic groups, and community organizations are all encouraged to join in the holiday procession.

McCurdy said the trick with having a good parade is getting everyone to keep up with the flow of the parade to eliminate gaps in between floats. She also encourages participants to save some of the candy they toss from floats until the end so they don’t run out prematurely. Also, making sure the treats land as close as possible to the curb to keep children safe as they pick it up without running into the road.

“We want to invite everyone to come out and participate as we join together to celebrate the season,” McCurdy said.

The general parade line up starts at 5 p.m., when floats will be judged at the VFW Fairgrounds and the street behind Williams Avenue Elementary School. Float entries will be judged with cash prizes for the winners.

For obvious safety reasons, all floats and long entries are asked to stop before the railroad tracks and only advance over them when there is enough room for the entire entry on the other side of the railroad tracks. Also, no animals are permitted in the parade.

For more information, call the chamber office at 256-845-2741.

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