The Alabama Theatre was built in 1927 by Paramount studios to showcase Paramount films. It has the capacity for about 2,500 people, and is now one of the only remaining movie palaces of its size. Throughout the year the theatre hosts events such as the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Alabama Ballet, and various concerts. “I like that it is an old fashioned building. At the beginning, before they play the movie, the piano rises out of the stage and the pianist plays old fashioned Christmas music,” said Hannah Blazer, a 19-year-old Birmingham native. “It sets the mood for everything. They introduce the movie, and give the background to it. It’s so cool because you get to watch the old movies in an old theatre, and I’m a very traditional person, so it’s neat.”
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland
Each year over three and a quarter miles of Christmas lights are set up along the Birmingham Race Course to entertain guests throughout the Christmas season. Guests can drive through the light displays while a synchronized radio station plays through the car speakers. “It was really fun to get all of my friends into the car and drive through all the lights. We packed eight of us in this van and jammed the whole way through,” said Kyle Church, a sophomore Samford student. “I’m from Texas, so I have pretty high standards when it comes to flashy light displays, and this was great.”
Lighting of the Way at Samford University
Lighting of the Way is one of Samford’s most beloved Christmas traditions. After the school’s annual Hanging of the Green ceremony, the student body gathers on the campus’ quad to listen to the president’s wife tell the Christmas story, and lead the countdown to lighting up Centennial walk and the Christmas tree. A live band plays, and there’s plenty of hot chocolate and sweet treats for everyone to enjoy. “Lighting of the Way is one of my favorite parts about Samford,” said Sam Fink a sophomore student at Samford. “We all get to come together as a campus to kick off the Christmas season at Samford and it’s so special.”
Ballet at Briarwood
Briarwood Presbyterian Church offers ballet classes from ages three through high school. The classes are taught in a Christian environment that emphasizes worshiping the Lord through dance. Every year during Christmas the classes put on a Christmas ballet for the Birmingham community. Mary Emma Campbell, who now attends Samford University, has danced with Briarwood for 16 years and taught classes for three years during high school. “The Briarwood Christmas Ballet is such a beautiful tradition of elegant worship and praising God through the joy of dance. The company puts so much time and effort into making it a show of worship and it is truly a joy to be a part of,” she said.
Brrrmingham: Ice skating at Rail Road Park
This winter is the inaugural year of Brrmingham, where birminghamians can ice skate outdoors at Rail Road Park. The atmosphere is lively and exciting with people whizzing (or stumbling, clutching the wall) around the rink. In addition to getting in some exercise to counteract the Christmas cookies, it also makes for a great photo-op with the Birmingham skyline in the background. “I hope that this becomes an annual Christmas tradition in Birmingham. It’s really have in fun to have a place to ice skate to ice skate in the middle of the city, especially in a place like Birmingham where you don’t see much ice,” said Marcus Witzel.