Noccalula Falls drawing crowds amid COVID-19

Noccalula Falls back open 7 days a week

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The crowds have returned to Gadsden’s Noccalula Falls Park since it reopened a few weks ago.

The falls view and hiking trails stayed open during the COVID-19 emergency, but now Pioneer Village has reopened.

People are once again hiking the gorge and visiting the newly remodeled botanical gardens.

This past weekend the park hosted a return of its Art on the Rocks event, and a scaled back version of its annual barbecue cookoff.

This year, the “Smoke Your Buns” event didn’t allow for barbecue samples, didn’t have its usual Kid’s Zone and didn’t have a band, all over caution towards COVID-19.

Gadsden Parks and Recreation Director Jen Weathington says park visitors have been good about practicing social distancing and have been very patient about it on the park’s tourist train, in particular.

“We ensure that there is social distancing, that is spacing between each household when you’re riding the train. After each round, we also disinfect our train, with certified disinfectant for the, especially for the COVID virus,” Weathington said.

Weathington also says over events have gone on as scheduled, including an antique car show that didn’t have vendors this year.

She says two more events will likely go on as always.

The annual Halloween SuperBash, on Oct. 10, will adopt a trick or treat format this year to help insure social distancing, and there will be an outdoor movie that night. It go on from 12 to 5 p.m. that day and the Halloween-themed outdoor movie afterwards.

She also told us Christmas at the Falls, the park’s biggest annual event, which draws thousands from as far away as Birmingham, Georgia and Tennessee, will also be held, one way or another, in a way that follows state health guidelines.

She says her staff has already started putting up lights. It usually kicks off Thanksgiving night.

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