By Sarrah Peters, News Editor
On Friday, December 2, Downtown Gadsden, Inc. hosted the North Pole Stroll. Participants gather at the Pitman Theatre and “stroll” down Broad Street towards the lawn of City Hall, where the annual Christmas tree lighting is held. What makes the stroll so unique is the people who dress up in holiday-themed outfits. Santas and Mrs. Claus’s are joined by elves, reindeer and, this year, even Frosty the Snowman.
“We wanted to incorporate the lighting of the Christmas tree on the lawn of City Hall with a First Friday celebration and what better way to do that than with Santas, Mrs. Clauses and other Christmas characters!” said DGI Director Kay Moore.
The stroll has become a Gadsden holiday tradition. When it began in 2010 only 30 people participated. This year, over 200 people strolled down Broad Street.
“Many of the spectators don’t participate in the stroll and instead, gather at the tree for the lighting,”said Moore.
At the tree-lighting, DGI provides entertainment in the form of Christmas carols. This year the Gadsden State Community College Choir performed. In the crowd, kids often approach Santa to talk.
“The North Pole Stroll has been a fun experience for everyone, young and old,” said Moore. “We hope it continues to grow in the future!”
After the tree lighting, spectators settled on the City Hall lawn to wait for the Coosa Christmas Boat Parade hosted by Greater Gadsden Area Tourism partnered with the Neely Henry Lake Association. This is the first year the boat parade was held.