By William C. Singleton III
The Over the Mountain cities of Homewood, Hoover, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills officially kick off this year’s holiday season with enough festivities to warm even the Grinch’s cold heart and spread enough good cheer to last throughout the Christmas season.
The city of Hoover will kick off the Over the Mountain festivities with its annual tree lighting ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. Dec. 1.
The event will feature local students singing Christmas carols and an area where those attending can play in the snow created by a snow machine.
After the official city tree is all aglow, Santa will make an entrance on a Hoover fire truck. He will greet guests and pose for pictures with Christmas wish list-makers of all ages.
“We generally have a huge turnout. It’ll be a great night and fun for everybody,” said Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey.
Parking will be available at the Hoover Public Library, and shuttles will be available to take guests to the event site in Hoover City Hall’s main parking lot.
For more information on holiday events in Hoover, visit HYPERLINK “http://www.hooveral.org” www.hooveral.org.
Homewood plans to ring in the Christmas season with the fourth annual Lighting of the Star ceremony the day after the Hoover holiday event.
The Homewood event will be held Dec. 2 at the top of 18th Street South and Oxmoor Road. The fun starts at 5:30 p.m. with the Edgewood Elementary School Choir leading the audience in singing Christmas carols.
Mayor Scott McBrayer will light the star at 6 p.m.
After the lighting of the star, several Homewood merchants will host special events, including a musical performance by students from the Exceptional Foundational at Wallace-Burke Fine Jewelry and Collectibles at 1811 29th Ave. S.
Although the star has been hung and suspended on wire every Christmas season for decades, city and chamber of commerce leaders officially rededicated the star in 2011 as the official symbol of the Christmas season in Homewood.
“Nobody else has a star, and Homewood being a patriotic community, you see stars in everything we do,” said Tricia Ford, Homewood Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Santa will be making his traditional pre-Christmas appearance at the Homewood event.
The city also will sponsor its yearly Christmas parade and tree lighting Dec. 9.
The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Homewood Library. The parade will travel east on Oxmoor Road to 18th Street South and then to 29th Avenue. From there, the parade route will go to 19th Street and on to Homewood City Hall where the lighting of the Christmas tree will take place.
The tree lighting ceremony will feature the Homewood High band, vocal and dance performances, the reading of the Christmas story and an appearance by Santa.
Berkley Squires, director of the Homewood Parks and Recreation Department, which sponsors the parade, said the event has been grown a lot over the years.
“We’re pushing 60 parade entries. We had about 30 to 35 in 2008,” he said. “I think moving it from the day to the night also helped. This is a huge event for our community and brings us closer together as a community.”
For more information on the Homewood parade, visit www.homewoodparks.com” www.homewoodparks.com.
Mountain Brook’s annual Christmas parade is scheduled for Dec. 7 at 3 p.m.
Members of the Mountain Brook High School Lady Spartans volleyball team will be the grand marshals of this year’s Mountain Brook parade. The parade is being sponsored by Swoop’s children’s store.
The parade will move through the heart of Mountain Brook Village on Cahaba Road and will include floats, a marching band and Mayor Terry Oden riding in a fire truck.
“The Christmas parade has been a tradition here for as long as I can remember,” Oden said. “It’s gotten bigger every year.”
For more information, visit www.welcometomountainbrook.com.
Vestavia Hills has a series of celebrations tied to its Holiday in the Hills festivities, which started earlier this month and cater to all age groups.
The city’s Christmas Tree Lighting is set for Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Vestavia Hills City Center Plaza by Panera Bread.
The Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce will sponsor Breakfast with Santa Dec. 12 from 7:30-10 a.m. at the Vestavia Hills Civic Center. The cost is $1 and will include a breakfast of pancakes and bacon.
After breakfast, children will be able to pose for pictures with Santa and whisper what they want for Christmas.
The city’s celebration of the Christmas season also will include a parade in Liberty Park Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. The parade route will move from the Liberty Park Sports Complex to the Alston Meadows community and will feature floats, classic and antique cars, and Rob & Dana from Magic 96.5 as the grand marshals.
For details, visit www.vestaviahills.org.