Photo Credit: Kameron Glenn

Events, Decorations Help Create Holiday Spirit in Huntsville

December 16, 2021


Photo Credit: Kendall Cope

The Limestone County Courthouse glows with holiday lighting during the Sip N’ Cider Festival.

Local Event Offers Hallmark Movie Feeling

Gearing up for the upcoming holiday, Huntsville locals were invited to partake in the 11th annual sampling of apple cider, singing of Christmas songs and browsing of Christmas lights and trees in downtown Athens.

The event known as the “Sippin’ Cider Festival” was set for the second Saturday of December from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. There were 24 stores participating in the festival, and the goal was to win the 2021 Cider Cup for best cider.

Customers scanned a QR code and voted on a survey online ranking each of the stores on a 5-star scale. Stores also competed for best window display, where participants would scan another QR code and simply choose their favorite store for the contest.

Each store had a unique apple cider in an effort to receive the award. I drank nearly 15 samples of apple cider trying to distinguish a winner. A couple of the stores featured “naughty” ciders along with the traditional “nice” ciders for those over the age of 21. Toppings from whipped cream to caramel to cinnamon were lathered on the samples.

My favorite cider was home to Hendricks-Patton Rancl Co Inc. The store provided paintings as well as furniture to compete with the delicious cider. The cider provided an earthy draw combined with the traditional apple flavor and cinnamon.”

In addition to the cider, the festival featured live music of Christmas songs, food trucks, s’mores and carriage rides. Live music was performed by The Oasis Christ’s Church to entertain guests and encouraged participants to join in on the singing. Carriage rides and live music were found in front of the decorated Limestone County Courthouse.

There were a variety of stores and goods from paintings and ornaments to clothes and toys, making something for all ages to enjoy.

Several stores revealed this event was always one of their busiest days of the year. The festival brought in hundreds of people to sample the cider and buy what stores had to offer.

The event was a perfect display of unity and holiday cheer within the community. The setting was truly magical and can only be described as a scene out of a Hallmark movie.

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Photo Credit: Brooklyn Smith

Before delivering toys to the Toys for Tots destination, members of the Junior Civitan club pose to show off their success.

Junior Civitan Sponsors Toy Drive

Having a heart to serve in any organization is something that the Junior Civitan Club believes is important. Sponsor Ashley Boddie has enjoyed her first year being with the club and helps them in brainstorming ideas to help the community.

This year the club is doing a drive at school for Toys for Tots, an organization that gives away toys to less fortunate families that cannot afford toys for Christmas. Club members are excited to share their drive for kids who are in our community.

“It’s a very good organization for students, it allows them to get involved with their community. It helps students to have a heart to serve as well as help their community out at the same time,” Boddie said. “It’s really awesome just seeing how the students take over the club and make it their own. They come up with the ideas and the planning and it’s really rewarding to see all the plans play out.”

The last day for the drive is Thursday Dec.16. After toys are donated they will be transferred to a nearby Toys for Tots resource center.

“Their job is to set up community service projects and to carry out those community service projects. And that is important because it allows them to give back and to actually make a difference in our local community,” Boddie said.

Junior Hannah Stovall is the president of the Junior Civitan and always meets with the other officers to plan for their community projects. Boddie sees how they are responsible in doing their job and working together.

“All of the officers are actually awesome. They come in and they take over. I give them a place to meet and I advise them. They pretty much do all the groundwork and they get the ideas and get it carried out. So everyone is really awesome,” Boddie said.

The Junior Civitan is hoping to also relieve the financial burden families have during the holidays. Stovall hopes the school can help bring that to those in need.

“Our plan for the toy drive is to donate to kids in need within our local community. We hope to help families by providing a little bit of joy through giving gifts to these children,” Stovall said.”

— Hannah Stovall

The idea of the toy drive was started at a meeting when the club was trying to come up with a service project idea that could initiate during this Christmas season. Stovall remembers junior Isabella Blevins coming up with the idea of hosting a toy drive for a women’s and children’s shelter.

“Our goal in Junior Civitan is not only to bring some cheer to children’s lives through these gifts, but to also hopefully inspire each of these children to give back to those around them as well,” Stovall said. “One idea I have is to perhaps write an encouraging note to go with each toy we donate.”

Students can donate to this drive up to Christmas break. Stovall is encouraging students and staff to donate. The Junior Civitan believes they are ready to bring help wherever they see it is needed.

“We would love to see the school really become involved by bringing toys and spreading by bringing toys and spreading the word to others to give as well,” Stovall said. “While toys are definitely not the purpose for Christmas, we hope that through giving these gifts, each individual will feel loved by their community and find a much deeper connection to Christmas. This toy drive is just one way that we can display love, empathy, and compassion toward others.”

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