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Wetumpka Continues Special Christmas Tradition
The City of Wetumpka celebrated Christmas with a boat parade earlier tonight.
But some are worried that events like the parade and the towns identity will be overshadowed now that the new casino is open.
The city prides itself on its small town charm. But some are worried with the opening of the new casino that people will forget what makes this place special.
Every year, the banks of the Coosa are flooded with people coming out to see the annual Christmas on the Coosa boat parade.
The festive floats pleased the crowds yet again this year.
The parade is just one of the many reasons that people stay in Wetumpka
"I like Wetumpka because it's grown but yet it's still got a small town atmosphere where people know one another, greet one another, and still take care of one another," said lifelong resident Wayne Macon.
Brandy Morrison lives in Millbrook, but comes to Wetumpka at least once a week. She loves the downtown area and all the local businesses. But she's not sure how having the largest casino in the Alabama, with 85,000 square feet of electronic games, will impact the town.
"It's good, business is always good, but I am concerned about what comes with a casino. Of course we'll have to wait and see what happens," said Morrison.
As you walk through the streets and find nativity scenes and luminaries lighting the night, it's easy to see why people love this place.
And events like the boat parade, which has been going on for about 30 years, are exactly what Mayor Jerry Willis thinks will keep the city's identity intact.
"We've been doing this long before the casino and it's just part of what we do. It's listed as one of the outstanding events in Alabama. Tourism in the state encourages us to be a part and continue doing that so that's the reason we're here this evening," said Mayor Willis.
If anything he expects the city to grow even more.
The city is trying to bring in more businesses to fill some of these vacant downtown shops