Boy Scouts receive Tupelo Christmas parade’s biggest honor

TUPELO – For the Yocona Area Council of the Boy Scouts, this year’s 63rd annual Reed’s Christmas Parade was a grand one.
The council served as grand marshal for Saturday’s parade. And despite temperatures in the upper-20s, more than 100 members of the council strolled the streets of downtown Tupelo wearing their excitement on their faces.
Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the Scouts’ existence, so parade organizers thought it would be fitting to honor the organization by making the Yocona Council grand marshal. This year’s theme was “Be Prepared for Christmas,” similar to the Boy Scout’s motto of “Be Prepared.”
“Being named grand marshal of the Tupelo Parade is just a huge honor,” said David Rumbarger, president of the Yocona Council. “The kids have worked hard and the council really is a good one. Next year we will celebrate 100 years of the Boy Scouts and for us to be honored this way is unbelievable.”
William Wells, 17, of Brewer has been a member of the council for more than 10 years and has accomplished a lot during that time. But he said being grand marshal for the parade will rank at the top of his list of Boy Scout memories.
“This is an exciting time for us,” said Wells. “We work hard as Scouts and to be rewarded this way is a great feeling. I’m glad for the younger kids because now they know what can happen if you stick with the Scouts.”
Even though he has been a part of the Tupelo Christmas Parade his whole life, this one was a little bit different for Jack Reed Jr. It was the first time he got to witness it as mayor of the city.
“I thought this was the best Christmas Parade ever,” Reed said. “It was a beautiful, cold, crisp day with the Boy Scouts leading the way. I felt it couldn’t have been any better and I am very proud to be the mayor of Tupelo.”
The parade didn’t start until 10 a.m. but in typical parade-day fashion, people started funneling into downtown an hour early so they could lay claim to prime viewing territory. By 9:30, both sides of the streets along the entire parade route were filled. Main Street was packed all the way from Reed’s Department Store to Crosstown.
Sharon Shumpert and her three children made sure they had a nice and cozy spot to watch from.
“This is the best spot,” said Sharon, pointing at an area of concrete in front of the Community Development Foundation where her children were wrapped tightly in a blanket. “Here we can see everything coming up the street. We used to post up by Reed’s but there is a small hill there that blocks your view a little bit.”
The parade featured its usual lineup of floats, classic vehicles and beauty queens. A parade organizer said Saturday’s parade had the biggest turnout she’d seen in a while.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.

Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal