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State welcomes Christmas season with lights, eventscomment (0)

November 9, 2006

By Linda Holloway

Alabama offers its own range of entertainment and family fun in areas across the state. Visitors and residents alike will enjoy experiencing the lights, sights and sounds of these various events. For a complete listing of Christmas events in Alabama, visit www.800alabama.com.

Nov. 17–Dec. 31: Christmas on the Rocks, Noccalula Falls, Gadsden
5:30–9   p.m.; 256-490-7111, www.gadsden-etowahtouris­-m­board.com

Take a walk through a fantastic display of more than 2 million twinkling lights and animated displays and experience a spectacular view of the waterfall. Visit the Pioneer Village and ride on the Noccalula Christmas Land Special Train. A ride for those with special needs is also available.

 Nov. 24–Dec. 31: Magic Christmas in Lights, Bellingrath Gardens and Home, Theodore
5–9 p.m.; 1-800-247-8420, www.bellingrath.org

The magic of Christmas comes alive with more than 3 million twinkling lights, animated scenes and a nativity scene. The event features nightly choral performances on the south terrace of the Bellingrath Home and photos with Santa. The Bellingrath Home is decorated in holiday finery and guided tours are available. Closed on Christmas Day.

Nov. 23–Dec. 31: Galaxy of Lights, Huntsville Botanical Garden
5:30–9 p.m.; 256-830-4447, www.hsvbg.org/gol.htm

Travel through a twinkling world where Santa flies high through the night sky. This nearly two-mile lighted drive features larger-than-life animated light displays. Visitors will enjoy nursery-rhyme characters frolicking among the scenes of the season.

Nov. 24–Dec. 31: Christmas in the Park, Arab City Park
Nightly until 10 p.m.; 256-586-8128, www.arabcity.org

More than 1.5 million twinkling lights illuminate this park and transform it into a winter wonderland. Entertainment is provided on the weekends. There is also a drop-off box for letters to Santa.

Nov. 26–Dec. 3: Christmas on the River, Demopolis
334-289-0270, www.demopolis­chamber.com

This weeklong celebration includes tours of antebellum homes, a communitywide church service and musical and theatrical holiday performances. Attend the Children’s Day Parade and Fair on the Square. The Nautical Light Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2.

Nov. 27–Jan. 1: Christmas Sound, Light & Water Show, DeSoto Caverns, Childersburg
9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily and 1–4:30 p.m. on Sundays; 1-800-933-2283, www.desotocavernspark.com    

Guests enjoy the Christmas Sound, Light & Water Show. The birth of Christ is presented on every tour in the Cathedral Room of the caverns.

Dec. 1: Open House & Festival of Lights, Florence
5 p.m.; 256-740-4141, www.flo-tour.org

Florence businesses and Wilson Park are decorated for Christmas.  You can shop while listening to music from the street corners and the jingle bells on horses giving carriage rides. Holiday music is also played in Wilson Park.

Dec. 2: Eleventh Annual Holiday Open House, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
1–4 p.m.; 334-240-4333, www.mmfa.org

Celebrate the season with musical performances, cookies, horse-drawn carriage rides and festive art-making activities. Docents are available to answer questions.

Dec. 3:
Jemison-Van de Graaff Mansion Open House, Tuscaloosa
2–4 p.m.; 205-758-2906, www.jemisonmansion.com

Tour the 1859 Italianate mansion adorned with period decorations. Entertainment is provided by The Lamb Family and refreshments are provided.

Dec. 3: A Plantation Christmas at Belle Mont Mansion, Tuscumbia
1–5 p.m.; 1-800-344-0783, www.colbertcountytourism.org

This event revives Christmas celebrations from long ago with traditional decorations of fresh fruits and greenery. Ballroom dancers in vintage costumes dance to period Christmas music. Built circa 1828, Belle Mont Mansion is considered one of the state’s most distinguished antebellum homes.

Dec. 4: Abbeville Christmas Parade
4:30–7:30 p.m.; 334-585-2273, www.cityofabbeville.org

Everyone loves a parade at Christmas. Enjoy area bands and floats and see Santa. Come to the Court Square before the parade to enjoy food and entertainment.

Dec. 5: Dickens Downtown, Northport
5–9 p.m.; 205-758-1257, www.kentuck.org

The streets of downtown Northport come alive with Victorian music, crafts and family activities. The shops and art galleries are open, and merchants are dressed in traditional Victorian costumes.

Dec. 6–10: Victorian Front Porch Christmas, Opelika
1-866-880-8747, www.aotourism.com

The streets are transformed into a Victorian Christmas fairyland with Old World Christmas figures adorning the porches of more than 60 turn-of-the-century homes.

Dec. 9:
Second Saturday Space Safari: Star of Bethlehem, Jacksonville State University Planetarium
1:30 p.m.; 256-782-5697, http://fieldschool.jsu.edu

Travel through space and explore planet Earth during these programs for adults and children at the Jacksonville State University planetarium. “Star of Bethlehem” takes visitors back in time to the night that the star shone above the manger and guided the Wise Men to the Christ child. “Holiday Tea for the Animals & Me” is one hour prior to the presentation for children to make crafts and meet animals.

Dec. 15–23, 26–30: ZooLight Safari, Birmingham Zoo.
5–9 p.m.; 205-879-0409, www.birminghamzoo.com

Enjoy 500,000 twinkling lights and ride the ZooLight Express through a winter wonderland. See a wildlife show featuring animals from colder climates, and stop by the Alabama barn in the Children’s Zoo for a Christmas photo.

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