Christmas on the Coosa

Daniel Dye / The Herald

The entire parade route was lined with people eagerly awaiting the chance to wave at friends participating in the parade.

With near perfect weather, thousands of people took part in the various Christmas on the Coosa activities going on in downtown Wetumpka Saturday.

The day’s events kicked off with a character breakfast at the Wetumpka Civic Center where over 600 children and adults had the chance to meet and mingle with a variety of famous cartoon characters from well-known children’s movies.

Children had the opportunity to have their photos taken with their favorite characters and fill their bellies prior to the opening of the arts and crafts exhibits at 10 a.m.

The smell of deep-fried funnel cakes and grilled fare such as brats and sautéed onions filled the air among the aisles of arts, crafts and food vendors.

A mechanical bull was available for kids and adults alike to take a ride along with bounce houses a little closer to the Coosa River.

Most spaces in the parking lot out front of the Wetumpka Depot Players were full with muscle cars, roadsters and high-performance cars and trucks. 

“I think this year is special,” Wetumpka event planner Valencia Smith said. “Being that we are approaching a new decade this is a big deal going into 2020.

Smith said the event, which the city started planning in August, turned out perfect and the city has already discussed adding something special to Christmas on the Coosa next year.

The nearly 2-mile parade route was filled with people by 1:30 p.m. who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa, candy tossed from floats and waves from friends and family participating in the parade.

“The parade seems longer this year,” Wetumpka resident Brittany Hatfield said. “It’s been going on for a while now. It was a great turnout.”

The parade was led by the Wetumpka High School JROTC, Boy Scout Troop 50, Wetumpka High School Band and immediately followed by parade Grand Marshal Gwen Turner

“I’ve lived in Wetumpka for almost 40 years now and have devoted my life to serving Wetumpka,” Turner said. “I never imagined this would be an honor that would come my way. I am very appreciative for it, but all I want is to do whatever I can do to make Wetumpka a great place to stay.”

Bluewater Broadcasting promotions director Kristen Hooper and 98.9 WBAM on-air talent Bubba Culpepper were the masters of ceremonies for the parade. It came to a close as Santa Clause waved and said, “Ho Ho Ho” down the parade route and turned his attention toward the Coosa River where at 4 p.m. a crew of wakeboarders hit the water.

Eventually, Santa joined in the fun on the water before the evening was brought to a close with a fireworks display.

“It’s been a great day,” Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis said. “This is going to make for a great holiday and we are just having a ball.”