History on Display at Christmas on the River

By: Stephen Bowers Email
By: Stephen Bowers Email

The most high-profile part is the Nautical Parade Saturday night, but there is more available than just that.
A very special attraction that arrived Wednesday.

Christopher Columbus sailed on these ships, the Nina and the Pinta, on his many voyages from Spain to present day North America.

O.K., so maybe he didn't sail on these exact ships, but they were almost exactly like the ones you can see in Demopolis this week.

"The Nina we have is an exact replica, and she was built using only hand tools and the same techniques used 500 years ago to build to the original Nina," said Stephen Sanger, ship crew member. "It took twenty men 32 months to build her. The Pinta here was built a little bigger than scale, so she could do day sails in the Cayman Islands."

The two ships have been touring together for two years and arrived amid clouds and rain Tuesday afternoon in Demopolis. Now they sit on the Tombigbee River, ready for you to take a peak into the past and see how Columbus and his crew lived as the Atlantic's fury crashed on the decks of these tiny ships.

"Ten months a year, we are traveling on board the ships," said Sanger. "There's a lot of crew that rotate throughout the season. There's a few crew who live on board 10 months a year."

Two weeks ago, they were in Knoxville, Tennessee. They sailed down the Tennessee River to the Tombigbee River, along which they made a five day visit in Columbus, Mississippi, before they set sail to Demopolis for Christmas on the River.

"We have learned about the great ships that Columbus has been on, and it's kind of cool," said visitor Ariel Williams.

"The most important thing I think I've learned here is about the things they built and how they built them and where they keep dry and how they do that," said visitor Isabel Ellis.

Christmas on the River events continue through Sunday.

Christmas on the River events:

Dec. 2, 5:30 p.m. Lighting of Public Square
Crowning of St. Nick
Announcement of the Special Child
Reading of the Christmas Story
@ Public Square - Downtown
(Civic Center, if inclement weather)
Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m. -8 p.m Christmas in the Canebrake
Bluff Hall, Gaineswood, & Lyon Hall
Admission $4 per house, 12 & under free
5 p.m. Alabama State Championship BBQ Cook-off
Demopolis City Landing Admission $7.00
George Franks Ball Field
9 p.m. - 11p.m. Band-Strange Brew
Dec. 4, 7:30a.m - 3:30 p.m. Fair in the Square
Public Square - Downtown
8 a.m. Jingle Bell Run/Walk Registration
Public Square - Downtown
$15.00 fee
9 a.m. - 11a.m. Lyon Hall Open - Admission $5.00
10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Bluff Hall Open - Admission $5.00
1p.m. - 3 p.m. Gaineswood Open - Admission $5.00
11:30 a.m. Day Parade
11 a.m. - 1p.m. Judging for the BBQ Cook-off
Presentation of Trophies & Checks at 2pm
George Franks Ball Field
1 p.m. Downtown Historic Marker Dedications
Rosenbush Building
Walnut Avenue - Downtown
2 p.m. The Princess & the Pea
Canebrake Players
Old School Theater on Main Avenue
Admission $10.00 adults; $5.00 children
6:30-8:30 p.m. Nautical Parade & Fireworks Display
Riverbank of the Tombigbee
6:30-8:30p COTR Gala (semi-formal-no jeans, cash bar)
Demopolis Civic Center
Admission $25.00, 12 & under $15.00
9 p.m. - midnight Christmas on the River Dance
Band - Cool Rayz
Demopolis Civic Center
Admission - $10.00, 21+ only
Dec. 5, 5pm Lighting of the Love Light Tree
Front Lawn, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital

Click below for the link to the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce and information about Christmas on the River.

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