• 63°

Wesson parade rolls under sunny skies

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Riding in his sleigh, Santa Clause waves to the crowd gathered along Highway 51 in downtown Wesson for the town's annual Christmas Parade Tuesday afternoon.

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Riding in his sleigh, Santa Clause waves to the crowd gathered along Highway 51 in downtown Wesson for the town’s annual Christmas Parade Tuesday afternoon.

Wesson’s annual Christmas parade Tuesday afternoon served to remind the community of the season at hand, and warm the hearts of parade goers from one end of Highway 51 downtown to the next.

“I don’t have a precise count, but I’m convinced this was the biggest showing yet. Weather had a lot to do with it,” said Wesson Volunteer Fireman Frank Newell.

Earlier last week, city officials decided to delay the parade from Friday of last week to Tuesday night in the hopes of clear, dry weather.

By Tuesday, fortunately, the rainy weather had cleared and sunshine on Tuesday happened to be an unexpected benefit of the parade delay.

The Wesson Chamber of Commerce helped to make the celebration a daylong affair by organizing a Christmas open house that included most shops and businesses in town. Besides decorating the inside and outside of their businesses, merchants provided discounts, door prizes and free refreshments for people

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Mardi Gras colors of green, purple and gold found a way to complement red and green in the Precious Moments Learning Center float. For additional photographs of the parade, please see page 12.

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Mardi Gras colors of green, purple and gold found a way to complement red and green in the Precious Moments Learning Center float. For additional photographs of the parade, please see page 12.

before and after the parade.

Following years of tradition, police and fire officials marked the official start of the parade that would take place up and down Highway 51. Members of the Wesson and Hazlehurst Volunteer Fire Departments inched their trucks slowly down the street, tossing out hundreds of lollipops, candy canes and other pieces of candy.

Wesson families crept in as close as they possibly could to participate in the annual parade. Some others watched the parade from the tops of their vehicles or on the balconies of nearby businesses.

Always a source of holiday inspiration, the Wesson High School marching band and the Copiah-Lincoln Community College played Christmas tunes such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” to the crowd, as well as other holiday favorites.

Cheerleaders from Co-Lin, Wesson Junior High and Wesson High School braved the cold weather to put on good cheer along the parade route. As Boy Scouts marched past, a collection of Nena Smith Dancers followed nearby, staying warm by performing their moves.

Other parade participants included local beauty queens, town officials and prominent business owners.

Nearly every single parade-goer and participant had some kind of bond Tuesday night, making the parade a community and family gathering wrapped into one, according to Newell.

“This is always a great event. People are extremely close in this town. So it’s almost like everyone in town is involved in the parade,” said Newell.

As the parade crowd dwindled down, and the temperature began to drop, many locals sought refuge at Polly Wog’s downtown to grab some coffee. A percussion ensemble from Copiah-Lincoln Community College was on hand, to perform Christmas classics from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

Later, the Sojourners, a rock band from Co-Lin performed current and classic rock tunes across the lot from Polly Wogs.

Finally, the event concluded with a showing of “A Small One”, a 28-minute Disney movie at the Wesson library.

Like the annual Wesson Flea Market, the parade is organized every year by Kenneth Furr and officials with the Wesson Volunteer Fire Department.