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Music, magic highlight Brookhaven Christmas parade

Music, magic and Miss Mississippi will make this year’s Christmas parade like no other.

The annual holiday parade, which is themed “Music and Magic” features Brookhaven native Laura Lee Lewis as the grand marshal. Lewis, the reigning Miss Mississippi, also placed in top five at the Miss America pageant, finishing as fourth runner-up.

She is the daughter of Mark and Lorin Lewis, of Madison, formerly of Brookhaven.

“I thought she was the obvious choice, being a Brookhaven native,” Chamber Program Director Katie Nations said. “She was so excited. We’re honored that we could have her, with all of her engagements.”

The parade will be Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. The last day to register a float, vehicle or group is Nov. 28.

Entry forms are available at the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce at the corner of South Whitworth Avenue and Chickasaw Street. A form can also be downloaded from brookhavenchamber.org/wp/events.

Entry fees are $35 for floats, groups or vehicles or $20 for motorcycles. All vehicles and motorcycles must be decorated to be in the parade. ATVs are not allowed.

The Chamber will be hosting Santa Claus on a special sleigh at the end of the parade, Nations said. He and the Chamber’s Junior Ambassadors, Les Belles des Hospitalitié, will be tossing candy to the crowds.

“They’ve got good stuff to throw at the end of the parade,” she said.

The parade will take the same route as in previous years.

All floats should report to the Exchange Club Park loop for placement from 3 to 5 p.m. Preview judging will take place from 4:30 to 5 p.m. in the loop and additional judging will occur along the parade route.

Individuals, groups, vehicles and motorcycles should report for line-up at 5 p.m. on Cherokee Street from Brookway Boulevard to South Jackson Street.

The parade will start with the fire brigade at 6:15 p.m. followed by the grand marshal’s car at 6:30 p.m. Miss Merry Christmas Mackenzie Jackson will be up next and she’ll be followed by the rest of the parade entries and area bands.

The parade is traditionally held on the Thursday the week after Thanksgiving and kicks off the Christmas season, Nations said.

The late Harold Samuels revamped the Christmas parade in 1953, which prompted an increase in popularity in the annual event. That first parade consisted of many cars, three floats and fire truck. The Hazlehurst High School Band won the best float in 1953 winning a $50 grand prize.

Since then, the parade has grown to include marching bands, several fire trucks, floats and cars.

“We’re expecting a great turnout,” she said.