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Christmas parade delivers holiday spirit

If the Christmas spirit hadn’t arrived inBrookhaven already, Thursday night’s cold weather, the carolsplayed by marching bands, and more than a hundred participants anddecorative floats winding through the streets downtown made sureeveryone knew that ’tis the season.

    Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield said the parade couldn’t have gone anybetter.

    “We’re very pleased with the turnout and how smoothly everythingwent,” he said. “Not only with the bands and the floats but withall the participants as well.”

    The parade featured marching bands from Brookhaven High School,Alexander Junior High School, and Loyd Star, as well as ProvineHigh School in Jackson and Copiah-Lincoln Community College, andthe renowned “Sonic Boom of the South” from Jackson StateUniversity.

    “It was very exciting to have JSU once again,” Brumfield said. “Andit was pleasure to host Provine, and all our local schools andCo-Lin had a big impact.”

    Brumfield said at the outset that the chamber expected 5-6,000people to bundle up and crowd the sidewalks and street corners ofdowntown to share the Christmas cheer.

    “I think we topped that easily,” Brumfield said of the estimatednumber of spectators. “The crowd was larger than normal, and wehope to see it build next year.”

    Local volunteer fire departments joined the City of Brookhaven FireDepartment in starting things off with a bang as they rolledthrough, blasting their horns and wailing their sirens in thetimeless tradition.

    Following was this year’s grand marshal, Rita Rich, who was honoredwith the position because of her prior service of nearly 20 yearsas parade committee chairman.

    Nearly two dozen floats showed off their creativity this year asthey competed for awards.

    McLane Southern was the “Overall Winner,” and winners wereannounced in several subcategories as well.

    In the “Religious Category,” Easthaven Baptist Church took thehonors, while the Northview Baptist Church Drama Team won “MostInspirational Theme Winner.”

    The Lincoln Residential Center won the “Best Depiction of Theme”award for their interpretation of this year’s “Storybook Christmas”theme.

    Other winners included Joe W. Byrd & Associates for “BestChildren’s Theme,” Pike National Bank for the “Business Category,”and the Hog Chain Volunteer Fire Department won the “BestOrganization” award.

    “There was a great array of different floats,” Brumfield said.”It’s hard to pick any one as the best because they were all sogreat. It seemed everyone kicked it up a notch this year.”

    Despite the positives of a large crowd, Brumfield said there wasone area in which things could improve.

    “We need to see people ease away from the street when the bandsmove through,” he said. “The crowds are large, which is a goodthing, but we need to have them move back to make room for thebands’ marching formations.”

    Brumfield thanked all the volunteers and participants for puttingon such a show to bring the Christmas spirit, and his eyes turn tonext year.

    “We can’t wait to bring it back again next year, and hope to learnfrom our events and make improvements where we need to,” hesaid.