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Parades, music, other seasonal festivities nearby in Alabamacomment (0)

November 29, 2007

By Linda Holloway

Alabama offers a variety of attractions for visitors during the Christmas season. \

You will find miles of lights, a familiar play and historic homes offering a glimpse of Christmas past.
There are parades, music, luminaries and a chance to learn about an important star. For a complete listing of Christmas events in Alabama, visit www.800alabama.com.

Nov. 23–Dec. 31 (closed Dec. 25), 5–9 p.m.: Magic Christmas in Lights at Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Theodore

1-800-247-8420, www.bellingrath.org

Located 20 miles from Mobile, the magic of Christmas comes alive with more than 3 million twinkling lights, animated displays and a nativity scene.

The event features photos with Santa and nightly choral performances on the south terrace of the Bellingrath estate. The Bellingrath Home will be decorated in holiday finery and guided tours are available.

Nov. 1–Jan. 1; 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mondays–Saturdays, 1–4:30 p.m. Sundays: Christmas Sound, Light, and Water Show, DeSoto Caverns Park, Childersburg

1-800-933-2283, www.desotocavernspark.com

Guests will enjoy the Christmas sound, laser light and water show. The birth of Christ is presented on every tour in the Cathedral Room of the caverns.

Nov. 25–Dec 1: Christmas on the River, Demopolis

334-289-0270; www.christmasontheriver.net

This weeklong celebration includes tours of antebellum homes, a community-wide church service and musical and theatrical holiday performances.

There is a children’s day parade and fair in the square. The popular nautical parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1.

Nov. 30–Dec. 1, 4:30–9 p.m.: Christmas by Candlelight, American Village, Montevallo

1-877-811-1776, www.americanvillage.org

Watch as Father Christmas leads the Grand Lighting of the Village at 5 p.m. and later welcomes the young at heart for keepsake photos.

Walk around the village and enjoy Christmas carolers, refreshments, lanes lit with luminaries and an open house at the Southern Living Showcase House (see story, page 9).

At 6 and 7:30 p.m., enjoy a festival of Christmas music in the chapel.

Dec. 1–2; 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday, 1–5 p.m. Sunday: Richards DAR House Christmas Celebration, Mobile

251-208-7320, www.richardsdarhouse.com

Tour the 1860 townhouse in historic De Tonti Square that will feature a collection of nativity scenes. You will find a variety of styles and materials in the collection.

Enjoy the decorations, a 12-foot tree in the parlor, refreshments and entertainment. The house is famous for its cast-iron façade depicting the four seasons.

Dec. 2, 2–4 p.m.: Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion Christmas Open House, Tuscaloosa

205-758-2906, www.jemisonmansion.com

Tour the restored and decorated Italianate mansion built between 1859 and 1862 by Philadelphia architects for businessman Robert Jemison Jr., which was later the boyhood home of his great grandson, Robert Jemison Van de Graaff, inventor of the Van de Graaff generator. Fresh greenery and period decorations adorn the mansion during the Christmas season. Refreshments are also part of the festivities.

Dec. 2, 1–5 p.m.: Plantation Christmas at Belle Mont Mansion, Tuscumbia

1-800-344-0783, www.colbertcountytourism.org

This holiday event features refreshments and traditional decorations with fresh fruits and greenery.

Entertainment will include period Christmas music and ballroom dancers in vintage costumes.

Built circa 1828, Belle Mont Mansion is owned by the Alabama Historical Commission and is considered one of the state’s most distinguished antebellum homes.

Dec. 4, 5–9 p.m.: Dickens Downtown, Northport

205-758-1257, www.kentuck.org

The streets of downtown Northport will come alive with music, horse-drawn buggy rides, and family activities. The shops and art galleries will be open.

Father Christmas will be in attendance while Tuscaloosa Children’s Theatre and community school choirs entertain.

Dec. 5–9: Victorian Front Porch Christmas, Opelika

1-866-880-8747, www.aotourism.com

Opelika streets welcome a Victorian Christmas with Old World Christmas figures adorning the porches of more than 60 homes of the late 19th century.

Dec. 7, 6 p.m.: City of Valley Christmas Walk on the Rails, Valley

334-756-5290, www.cityofvalley.com

The kickoff of the Christmas season for the city of Valley begins at the Veterans Memorial Park, where visitors can enjoy 2.5 miles of the Rails to Trails from Langdale Mill to the Fairfax Depot.

These former rail lines that are now trails will be lined with luminaries.

Mrs. Claus and the elves will be on hand at the depot to read stories to the children and offer hot cider to everyone.

Valley also invites visitors to enjoy the merry-go-round located across from the Valley Senior Center during the Christmas season, Dec. 8–24.

Dec. 7–9, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: “The Nutcracker,” Montgomery

334-409-0522, www.montgomeryballet.org\

The Montgomery Ballet presents the 32nd annual performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Davis Theatre.

The famous ballet promises to delight all ages with dancing, magical scenery and colorful costumes.

Children will enjoy the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Christmas party following the matinee performances Dec. 8 and 9.

They can mingle with the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara and other favorite characters who will all be on hand to greet the children and sign autographs.

A ticket is required for this event.

Dec. 8, 1:30 p.m.: Second Saturday Space Safari: Star of Bethlehem, Jacksonville

256-782-5697, rmorrison@jsu.edu

Travel through space and explore planet Earth during these exciting programs for families and children at the Jacksonville State University planetarium.

“Star of Bethlehem” takes visitors back in time to the night that the Star shined above the manger and guided the Wise men to the Christ child.

Dec. 14–23, 26–30; 5–9 p.m.: Zoolight Safari, Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham

205-879-0409, www.birminghamzoo.com

Enjoy half-a-million twinkling lights, and ride the train to experience a winter wonderland.

Be sure to stop by the barn in the Children’s Zoo to visit with the animals, enjoy the holiday crafts and have a photo taken.

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