Tarpley crowned St. Nicholas 2012

Kelley Tarpley was named Saint Nicholas for Christmas on the River 2012.

Kelley Tarpley donned the robe of St. Nicholas Thursday night as the 41st Christmas on the River festivities continued in Demopolis.

Tarpley was one of 12 nominees for St. Nicholas this year. The Demopolis native was chosen for her dedication to creating activities for children, especially at the Demopolis Public Library and its summer reading program.

The honor of being named St. Nicholas goes to residents who focus their energy and attention on helping the children in Demopolis.

The new St. Nick will wear the robe and miter of her office at other events during COTR and will ride a special float in the Children’s Day Parade December 1.

Tarpley has been the children’s and young adults’ librarian for five years. Her involvement in directing the Summer Reading Program led to her being named to the state committee for the program.

During her tenure at the library, Tarpley has worked on her master’s of library and information degree.  She will receive the diploma in December.

In addition to her work with the library, Tarpley has been involved with the Demopolis High Band Boosters and with the local soccer program.

She and her husband Donn have three children: Anna Kate, 17; Alex, 16, and Andy, 15.

Before announcing Tarpley’s selection, students from the Westside Elementary after-school program carried lanterns they had made to light the way for St. Nick.

Lots of “oohs” and “aahs” were heard throughout the crowd of more than 250 when city officials turned on the switch to light the tens of thousands of white lights decorating the trees and bushes in the park. More than 400 new strings of lights were added to the display for 2012.

The Rev. J.D. Barnes, pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church, read the Nativity story while students portrayed the familiar tale in a tableau.

As the program closed Santa Claus arrived with a jolly “ho, ho, ho.” Children lined up to have their pictures made with the jolly visitor.

Other St. Nick nominees were Paula Parr, Cindy Hay, Mike Cork, Mike Baker, Theresa Freeman, Mary Jo Martin, Dr. Ronnie Chu, Carl Johnson, Ann Jackson, Chuck Smith and Ben Sherrod.

During the program the four queens from the COTR pageants and their courts were introduced as were three “elves,” who will be helping during the events. They are sixth-graders Jordan Smith, Sarah Margaret Barris and Rose Hall.