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Organizers busy with parade plans

Organizers of the yearly Christmas parade say float entries arebeing accepted for this year’s parade, which is themed “Gifts ofLove.”

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Program DirectorKay Burton said event planners are expecting a good turnout forfloats and local bands – if last year’s numbers are anyindication.

“Last year was the biggest parade we’ve had yet,” she said. “Itwas the most entries I’ve seen, and I’ve been working here 10years.”

Christmas Parade Chairman Rita Rich said not only are entriesbeing accepted until Nov. 26, but organizers are always open to newideas, too.

“We’re working on types of special activities that will make itmore interesting, and we’re always looking for new ideas,” shesaid. “Ours is a parade that includes everyone, but particularlyit’s for the children.”

Burton said whether you have children or not, there’s somethingin the event for everyone.

“The biggest thing to me is that this is an event for everyone,and it reaches the child in all of our hearts,” she said. “It’svery Americana, because it’s just everyday people who put togethera float for their group or organization to celebrate the Christmasseason.”

The parade, which begins at 7 p.m. on Nov. 29, will be precededby the fire brigade, in which the county fire trucks and emergencyvehicles will drive the route with full sirens and lights to kickoff the festivities. Then groups from schools, churches, civicorganizations and businesses will showcase their floats for thecrowd, but also for prizes, which will be given in categories.

The grand marshal of the event has not been chosen yet, Richsaid, but should be announced in coming weeks.

“For a grand marshal I get someone from the community that is anoutstanding person who has contributed to Brookhaven and LincolnCounty,” said Rich.

Miss Mississippi Kimberly Morgan will be on hand to greet paradegoers from a float as well.

“But of course we want to focus on our Miss Merry Christmas, andwe’ll know next Monday night who that is,” said Rich. “And we’llhave cars for all the elected officials and dignitaries.”

Organizers are also excited at the prospect of having severallocal and state bands on hand for the parade.

“We’d like to have as many local bands as we can, and we hopethey’ll all participate,” she said. “What makes the parade is themusic and the bands, and we’ve always had good participation fromschool bands as well as colleges in the parade. We’ve even had JSUcome, and we invite everyone to participate and it’s a good way tousher in the Christmas season.”

Burton said the parade would be impossible each year without thehelp of the volunteers who help set up the route and do other oddjobs to make the event as special as possible.

“My hat’s off to them, because it can get wild out there,” shesaid. “To get that parade up and going is a major feat. Peopledon’t realize how much work it takes.”

Groups and organizations interested in entering floats in theparade are encouraged to call the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamberof Commerce for more information at (601) 833-1411.