By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Thousands of north Mississippi residents lined downtown streets Saturday morning to watch as the Grinch, bands, horses and a snowman marched in Tupelo’s annual parade.
The parade was led by four of Tupelo’s motorcycle police followed by the Healthy Tupelo Task Force.
The Healthy Tupelo Task Force grand marshals set the tone for the “Have a Healthy Christmas” theme of the 64th Reed’s Christmas Parade.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. and his wife, Lisa, walked with the task force members, high-fiving almost every child on the parade path.
A historic Wells Fargo stagecoach was a part of this year’s parade, painted and adorned as it would have been during the early days of American exploration. The historic stagecoach earned second place in the equestrian category of the parade.
Jack Reed Sr. said the stagecoach was probably his favorite part.
“When it came in early on in the parade I just thought it looked great,” he said. “The whole parade went great. It was a beautiful day and a good crowd and about as long of a parade as we’ve had. We feel it’s a positive thing and what’s good for Tupelo is good for Reed’s and we think this was good for Tupelo.”
Onlookers were delighted and shocked by Caterpillar’s mechanical snowman, which won first place in the commercial float category.
The more than 15-foot-tall snowman’s driver piloted the snowman toward onlookers, giving some a shock by abruptly stopping a few feet from them.
The Partlow Drummers and Drummettes put on a show with their dance team and drum line. The group earned second place in the band category, beating out larger school-sponsored bands. The band marches in honor of the former George Washington Carver High School band director Walter Partlow.
Parade participants set off from the BancorpSouth Arena at 10 a.m., marching west on Jefferson Street before turning south on Robins Street and then heading back east on Main Street.
It took two hours for the last group of horses and riders to cross the train tracks by Reed’s, signaling the parade’s end.