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Holidays march on with area parades

The Christmas season kicks off this week with one parade afteranother.

Franklin County kicks off area events with its parade at 2 p.m.Thursday. Brookhaven’s parade begins at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Saturday’s events include the New Hebron parade at 10 a.m. andMonticello’s parade at 3 p.m.

Rita Rich, chairwoman of the Brookhaven Christmas Parade, saidsponsors already have received a “good number of entries,” but shesaid she expects quite a few more before the festivities begin.

The theme of the parade this year is “Hope, Love and Joy.” Theparade will follow its usual downtown route, beginning at the postoffice on West Cherokee Street and ending on Monticello Street.

Entries will be accepted until the morning of the event, Richsaid, but not afterward.

“That’s the first thing I work on Thursday morning – the lineup.I need to know who we have,” she said.

New this year is stricter enforcement or rules requiring horsesand motorcycles to pay an entry fee.

“Everybody pays, but we haven’t really been requiring them topay in the past,” she said, adding that failure to pay the fee willprevent an entry’s participation in the parade.

The entry fee for each horse is $10, and floats, vehicles andother entries carry a fee of $20.

Also new this year is a float for community leaders, includingthe mayor and board of aldermen, county supervisors and theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce president andIndustrial Development Foundation president, Rich said.

Horse entries will line up differently this year. They will meeton Cassidy Street before the parade.

Streets along the parade route and in the staging area, most ofthe downtown area, will be closed at 5:30 p.m. Thursday inpreparation for the parade, Rich said.

“We’re very excited about the new decorations,” Rich said.”Countless hours were spent in preparing and putting up. There willbe more decorations in the next two years. People just need to bepatient.”

Any profit made by the parade this will go toward new Christmasdecorations as part of the second phase of a three-phrase plan toreplace and expand the city’s old decorations. The new decorationsnow on display were part of the first phase.

Jimmy Furlow, the city’s traffic supervisor and a dedicatedchamber of commerce volunteer is the grand marshal of this year’sparade.

Maj. Gen. Harold A. Cross, adjutant general of Mississippi, willbe grand marshal of the Franklin County parade in Bude.

Cross will represent the state’s men and women fighting forfreedom around the world.

Families and friends of those serving in the military areinvited to march in the parade on their behalf, according to a newsrelease.

The captain of industry for the parade is Bill Behan, presidentof Columbus Lumber Co. Columbus Lumber has been in Brookhaven since1943.

In Lawrence County, New Hebron will open the Christmas seasonSaturday with its 10 a.m. parade. Entries will begin lining up at8:30 a.m. at New Hebron Attendance Center.

“We have 35 entries, and we’ll have a lot of horses not includedin that number. They just show up,” said Betty Wigington, chairmanof the New Hebron Activity Club’s parade committee.

Mary Steverson Mikell and her son Buddy Steverson are thisyear’s grand marshals. They were the original owners of the NewHebron Rodeo, which closed in the 1960s. Buddy Steverson also ownedand operated New Hebron Manufacturing Co. from 1954 until it closedin 1995 and founded Buddy’s Jeans, a popular line of blue jeansstill manufactured today by New Hebron native Jane Little.

The parade will follow its normal route, traveling down MainStreet from the school, circling a city block and returning downMain Street to end at the school.

Monticello’s Christmas Parade will be held at a new time thisyear to tie in with several other town activities, said Mayor DavidNichols. It will be held at 3 p.m.

“This is not the first time it’s been changed, but it isprobably only the second time in 30-40 years that it’s been changedfrom a morning parade,” he said.

Several city and county charitable and civic organizations arehosting a variety of activities throughout the day in conjunctionwith the parade.

Despite the time change, the Monticello parade will follow itstraditional route. It will begin at Lawrence County High School,turn east on Tommy Jolly Drive, north on F.E. Sellers Highway, easton Highway 84 and end at Monticello Baptist Church.

“I’m pretty sure that was the original route of the parade,”Nichols said.