Feels like Christmas: Music, floats, fun mark annual parade in Tupelo

By DANZA JOHNSON / NEMS Daily Journal





TUPELO – Marching bands, flashy cars and waves are all nice touches to a Christmas parade, but they aren’t always the main attraction.
That title this year went to the floats.
Dozens of floats were a part of the 62nd annual Reed’s Tupelo Christmas Parade, and going big seemed to be the theme.
One massive float was an attention-grabber in the sea of floats moving down Main Street, and it took first place for the day. The New Haven Center for Special Needs Adults put together a float that hauled a 15-foot-long acoustic guitar.
Sponsored by Walmart, it took a little more than a month to build, time well-spent, according to Rick Lemons. Lemons and several others at the Walmart Distribution Center constructed the float for New Haven. He said nothing says Christmas spirit like a Christmas float.
“It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas,” said Lemons as he stood next to the float dressed in a Christmas Elvis costume. “This is what this time of year is about. Parades make you feel like it’s the holiday season and helping to build this float was a great experience. We are honored to be able to do this for New Haven and I hope we win it for them.”
As the New Haven float made its way down Main Street, women, men and children alike were impressed. Many had crowned it the winner even before seeing all the others.
“That’s the first-place float if I’ve ever seen one,” said Sandra Wesson to her husband, Ben. “It had to take months to build something that size.
“I love everything about parades, but the floats are always my favorite. They really show the Christmas spirit of the people in the area.”
Even though their float wasn’t one of the winners, the Verona Christian Church group was proud of the one they put in the parade. The group put a lot of work into constructing the scene of a typical Christmas living room.
“We enjoy doing this and really look forward to it,” said Phillip Pannel, who was driving the float. “We like to see what other people come up with too. That’s a part of the Christmas fun.”
While visual enjoyment was in abundance, there was not a shortage of good sounds at the parade. Themed “Sounds of the Season,” music teachers, band directors and band students throughout the area served as grand marshals for this year’s parade. Band after band, onlookers were entertained by a wide array of Christmas tunes.
It felt like Christmas to those in attendance, even though the temperature was at 53 degrees.
“It’s not Christmas cold, but it’s definitely a Christmas feeling out here this morning,” said Michelle McGregor. “Parades always put me in the Christmas spirit and it doesn’t matter if it’s 100 degrees out. Christmas is in the heart and not on a thermometer.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.