Alabama center welcomes Christmas with caroling

Published 8:30 am Friday, December 15, 2023

LANETT — The Alabama Welcome Center on I-85 was alive with the Christmas spirit Thursday morning. Santa Claus was there to pose for lots of photos taken next to the Sweet Home Alabama Christmas tree.

Fortunately for Santa, the expanded space out back for truck parking was large enough to handle his sleigh and reindeer (or at least that’s what he said).

A large number of clients from Valley Haven School came to Thursday’s Christmas open house. They arrived in three mini buses from the school and were accompanied by Liz Magby, Dolly Britt, Shelby Flakes, Jamie Willingham, Abena Brown and April Preston. Also present were Executive Director Carrie Wood and Tarin Parrish of the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce.

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The three-member trio of Welcome Center Manager Laura Smith, Tonya Frank and Eddie Lanier sang in beautiful harmony traditional Christmas classics such as “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “The Christmas Song (a.k.a. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Frank did a much applauded solo of “O Holy Night” and everyone joined in the singing of “Silent Night.”

Fresh-baked cookies and ice-cold lemonade were served to everyone. Out-of-state visitors stopping at the center paused to watch the holiday celebration. Smiles were abundant among the welcome center staff, the Valley Haven clients and the visitors who were stopping by.

Everyone is invited to come by and see the Christmas decorations at the center. The Sweet Home Alabama tree is the star attraction, but there are some displays on the main lobby counter that are well worth a visit.

One shows a snow scene of a gingerbread village and another depicts some carolers from old England.