By M. Scott Morris
TUPELO – When Santa Claus makes his annual pre-Christmas trip to Tupelo, he’ll do it at night.
The 2013 Reed’s Tupelo Christmas Parade will start at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10.
“This year, we had a unique opportunity to shake things up a little bit,” said Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, which oversees the parade.
The parade took place on Friday night until the mid-1990s, when it was switched to Saturday morning.
The 2013 change was made because Mitchell Distributing in Tupelo was one of seven “Big Jake” winners from Anheuser-Busch.
As a result, the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales will be in Tupelo Dec. 9 and 10 and will take part in the parade.
“It’s a great honor for us to be able to bring the Clydesdales,” said Tommy Taylor, sales manager for Mitchell Distributing. “We were lucky to get them for this time of year.”
Brangenberg said one of her favorite TV commercials for the Christmas season features the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales running through the snow. Jack Reed Jr., president of R.W. Reed Co., said he could promise horses but not snow on Dec. 10.
Tupelo City Councilwoman Nettie Davis, who’s in her fourth term, will serve as grand marshal of the parade. She’s the first female and the first African-American to be council president.
She also has a history for serving on the front lines of the civil rights movement. As a freshman at Fisk University in Nashville in 1960, she took part in a sit-in at Woolworth’s and spent three days in jail.
“I think it is entirely appropriate to celebrate Mrs. Davis,” Reed said.
This year’s theme will be “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and it was inspired by the change to a night-time parade. Floats will be judged on how the theme is incorporated.
It will take about 100 volunteers to make the 65th Annual Reed’s Tupelo Christmas Parade possible. Anyone wishing to help may call (662) 841-6598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.