Christmas parade in Tupelo today

TUPELO – Today’s 2009 Reed’s Tupelo Christmas Parade will open with Boy Scouts and end with Santa Claus, himself.
In between, you’ll see marching bands, classic cars, floats and more.
Parade participants will line up at the BancorpSouth Arena parking lot by 9 a.m., and the event will start at 10 a.m.
The route will go west on Jefferson Street, south on Robins Street and east on Main Street before disbanding at Fairpark.
“The Boy Scouts are leading our parade and celebrating 100 years of Scouting,” said Craig Helmuth, parade coordinator for the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association. “They’ll be collecting canned goods along the route. They’ll collect even from people who are in the parade, so bring your cans.”
You’ll know the parade is over when Ol’ Saint Nick makes an appearance. Considering his busy schedule this time of year, Tupelo is lucky to have him.
“He does have work to do,” Helmuth said, “but we go ahead and schedule him a year in advance. He gives us that commitment a year out.”

Here’s a look at other events in downtown Tupelo today:
– Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast: 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church.
– Jingle Bell Jog: 9 a.m., along parade route.
– Home Sweet Home gingerbread house: Starts after the parade and runs until 1:30 p.m., BancorpSouth Conference Center.
– Christmas at Fairpark: 4 to 6 p.m. with the Orchard Band and Tupelo Fifth Grade Chorus, in front of City Hall.
– Tree lighting: 5:30 p.m., in front of City Hall.

By M. Scott Morris
Daily Journal
VERONA – The Lee Country Agri-Center hosted holiday parade royalty on Friday.
The Express Clydesdales have appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
Today, they’ll pull a replica of an 1880 Abbott amp& Downing hotel coach during the 2009 Reed’s Tupelo Christmas Parade.
“It’s the big game,” Ryan Hardy, trainer and farrier for the Clydesdales, said. “Everywhere we go is the big game.”
This particular game – er, parade – has been a while in coming for Julianne Goodwin, who owns Express Employment Professionals in Tupelo and Booneville with her husband, Jim Goodwin.
“I’ve been trying to get them to Tupelo for about 2 1/2 years,” she said. “I finally got lucky, and they were available the first weekend in December.”
Dads’ girls
Two of the Clydesdales, Ben and Jerry, were in the Agri-Center’s arena Friday, and people got to rub their noses and take photographs.
Ben weighs more than 1,900 pounds, but that didn’t stop 7-year-old Millie Morgan from getting up close and personal.
“At my daddy’s house, I have four horses,” the young Plantersville resident said.
The giant black and white horses reminded 70-year-old Jean Maxheimer of her daddy, too.
“He had those big work horses – not this big – when I was little,” said Maxheimer, a Tupelo resident. “They had those big feet, and they did all the farm work.”
‘Something else’
The horses travel about 200 days out of the year. The parade will feature a six-hitch team, and the Express Clydesdales recently won the Calgary Stampede’s World Champion Six-Horse Hitch Competition.
They’re judged on their ability to both pull a wagon in specific patterns and to look good while doing it.
Jimmy Hussey, 79, of Mooreville, can testify that the Clydesdales are pleasing animals to look at.
“I just think they’re beautiful, I tell you,” he said. “They’re something else.”
Keep in mind that Hussey didn’t get to see them in full parade dress.
Before they left home in Yukon, Okla., all six horses got haircuts plus baths. They’ll get up around 6 a.m. today and eat.
“Ben will eat about 15 to 20 pounds of grain and 20 to 30 pounds of hay a day,” Hardy said.
A three-man team will work on two horses at a time, braiding manes and tails in assembly line fashion. Each horse will get a patent leather English harness that weighs about 170 pounds and sells for about $8,000.
The effect should be magnificent in downtown Tupelo, unless you’re looking at the wrong end.
“We’ve got a pooper scooper,” Goodwin said. “We’re required to have a pooper scooper because we’re at the front of the parade.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal