Carousel float gets upgrade for 41st COTR

The Christmas on the River Day Parade will feature several new floats this year and significant changes to one that is quickly becoming a crowd favorite.

While COTR Day Parade chair Diane Brooker is not ready to let the proverbial cat out of the bag regarding the quartet of new floats that will roll out this year, she and other organizers are excited about the upgrades being made to the carousel float.

A float originally pushed for by Ben Sherrod, the carousel float has been in the works for a number of years.

“This is something that has been in the works for five years. (Sherrod) started asking for a carousel five years ago. It has just been phased in year by year, the building of it,” Brooker said of the lavender-colored float that spins a trio of paper mache animals around a vertical base. “His goal is to have so many animals made that every year he can swap them out so that it is new every year. This year we made three new animals.”

The carousel float takes on a new look this year not only in the added animals it will display, but in the trailer

Timerie Thurman, a sixth grader at Demopolis Middle School, works on pieces for a float for this year’s Christmas on the River Day Parade. Work continues at the Christmas on the River warehouse from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each Wednesday and Friday.

that will now house it.

“This has been on a flatbed, gooseneck trailer that looked like the devil,” Sherrod said. “This will make it a permanent thing and we’ll be able to do more with it. We’ll work on it a little bit every year. This is so exciting to me for it to be at this stage. We’ve got three new characters this year and next year we’ll make three new characters.”

The trailer, which suits the design of the float perfectly, comes as a product of the efforts of the Alabama Power Service Organization. The contribution of APSO combined with the work of RockTenn employees who helped build the framework of the float has provided the Day Parade with a float that will become an annual staple while also never growing stale.

“It’s a wonderful example of the partnership between Alabama Power and RockTenn,” Brooker said. “RockTenn actually built the framework. They helped build and then last year we tried to add some of the cover. This year we’ve got the platform and we plan on adding the top and just trying to fill it in. It just gives it a more finished look.”

Work on the carousel and all of the Day Parade floats will continue at the Christmas on the River warehouse Wednesdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.