Families Flock to Downtown Festival

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

The chilly weather couldn't keep thousands of people from checking out the annual Christmas festival in downtown Dothan Saturday.

The celebration is a citywide effort to get everyone in the holiday spirit.

It was snowing in downtown Dothan Saturday.

“We just had to experience the snow in Alabama, we're from Alaska so we just had to see how things are down here,” said Fairbanks, Alaska resident Cameron Knowell.

“The snow zone is the main attraction of course because a lot of the local people and children haven't seen snow, so just to be able to play in it and make a snowball is very exciting for them,” said Cathy Cole, the executive director of the Downtown Group.

Families flocked to the center of the circle city for the 5th annual Downtown Christmas Festival.

“This kicks off the holidays if you don't get into the Christmas spirit at this festival, there's no hope for you,” joked Cole.

The temperature dipped pretty low, but some say the cold weather fuels that Christmas feeling.

“It gets you into the spirit for the holidays for Christmas and just getting out with everyone is so festive you can't help but get into the spirit,” said Katie Knowell of Fairbanks, Alaska.

“We're just out here having fun just trying to stay warm and keep from freezing!
It makes it feel like Christmas!” said Bonifay, Florida resident Carla Steinman.

Even Santa Claus made an appearance.

“I'm a part of Santa’s security detail; make sure no kids get unruly on Santa’s lap.
We’ve had some criers afraid of Santa. Apparently he's pretty intimidating, the beard gets to them,” said Fort Rucker soldier First Lieutenant Wesley Pritchett.

Organizers say the event is a chance to showcase what downtown Dothan has to offer.

“We want to give a gift to the city, it's a free event, it's family oriented and it gets people to come to the historic district and enjoy it,” said Cole.

This year's festival seems to have gone off without a hitch.

“We couldn't have had a more exquisite day I mean it's cold, there's a little bit of snow blowing in the breeze, I mean it's absolutely fantastic,” said Cole.

Organizers estimate between 12,000 and 15,000 people checked out Saturday’s five-hour event.

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