Expect a busy downtown for run, Christmas parade today

Downtown Phenix City and Columbus will be busy this morning with two holiday events that will be sure to cause some traffic issues.

The Reindeer Run, a 1-mile race, begins at 9 a.m. at Country's Barbecue, 1329 Broadway in Columbus. It's for kids, and categories span pre-K to eighth grade.

Late registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and it costs $25.

The race benefits the Children's Miracle Network at The Medical Center.

After the race, the Bi-City Christmas Parade is set to begin in Phenix City at 10 a.m.

The parade begins at Colin Powell Parkway just past the Dillingham Street Bridge in Phenix City, according to Special Events Coordinator Rebecca Harris. It will go down Broad Street and take a right at 13th Street. After crossing the bridge into Columbus, it will take a right on Broadway and end near Ninth Street before the Historic District.

Seven athletes from the area who participated in the Summer Olympics will serve as the grand marshal for the event.

They include gold medalist Jamie Gray, Jason Parker, Eric and Sandra Uptagrafft, Josh Richmond, Michael McPhail and Josh Olson.

Harris said the parade is one of the biggest in the Southeast. It is made up of mostly local organizations and includes marching bands, horses, clowns, motorcycle units, civic organizations and churches. Santa Claus is also expected.

The best places to view the parade, according to Harris, will be Broad Street in Phenix City, the Piggly Wiggly parking lot and the 13th Street bridge. In Columbus, Harris suggests standing along Broadway.

Even though it starts at 10 a.m., Harris said people start showing up around 8 a.m. "to get a good spot."

Unlike recent years that have seen cold temperatures for these events, the National Weather Service predicts it will be close to 60 degrees when the festivities begin.