Every evening from now until December 27 (well, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas night), Noccalula Falls Park, a short drive from historic downtown Gadsden, is hosting its annual Christmas at the Falls event. Steve and I got a behind-the-scenes look at the decorating and preparations that were underway a couple of weeks ago, and we could tell it will be very special indeed.
For a $6.00 admission fee, you may walk the paths through the park or ride one of two trains that will be operating. Click here to read about the various attractions you’ll find inside. Several that caught my attention were the various food vendors that you’ll find (think hot chocolate and funnel cakes), the cookie-decorating station, Santa, a petting zoo and the Pioneer Village with buildings that were found, donated and brought in dating back to the early 1800’s. The Falls themselves will be dressed all in lights — a spectacular sight worth the price of admission. We visited right after some heavy rains, so the falls were roaring and magnificent. The park official who guided us said, “Please tell your readers that we have no control over how much water comes over the falls. It is completely dependent on the amount of rainfall. We don’t want anyone to be disappointed (or blame US) if they visit in the summertime and there’s only a trickle.” But, if you visit during this holiday season, my guess is that you’ll be rewarded with lots of water.
Insiders shared that the best times to visit are during the week rather than on the weekends in order to avoid huge crowds. But, if you decide to visit on Saturday December 12th, between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m., kids will be delighted to see Ronald McDonald, the Grinch, some Minions and other popular characters roaming around. Otherwise, gates open at 5:00 each evening.
If you want to go to Gadsden earlier in the day, I strongly suggest that you explore the shops and restaurants along Broad Street. Choose among Tre Ragazzi’s Italian Cafe, Jefferson’s, The Choice, Rock n Roll Sushi, Blackstone Pizza or Lizzie’s Barbecue or go around the corner to Locust Street for Sugar Moon. A perk we particularly appreciated was the absence of parking meters. Sometimes the little things can make a huge difference.
A little further out of town, Top of the River serves up some mighty fine cornbread, slaw, onions and greens, along with catfish and shrimp. Or, what about sharing the World’s Largest Seafood Platter? Trust me. It’s enough for several hungry eaters.
Another event to consider is happening on December 7th. The large Christmas tree will be lighted in downtown — Santa will do the honors — followed by the Coosa Boat Parade which can be viewed from the 759 bridge to City Hall. Also, be sure to treat yourself to a visit to the Cultural Arts Center to look at the Christmas trees decorated by area school children. Each one features a different First Lady of the United States, and they are extremely well-done.
Oh, and one other suggestion before I close. Sean Dietrich, author of the “Sean of the South” blog and numerous books, will be at the Mary G Harden Center for Cultural Arts on Broad Street on Friday night, January 18, 2019, and tickets are still available. Click here for more information. A pair of those tickets will be in Steve’s Christmas stocking this year, and I’m counting on being his date. 🙂
Have fun exploring Gadsden!