Cold didn’t chill parade

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 8, 2003

Parade participants from left, Joe Borrello, Samantha Pugh, Paul Ingram, Kelsey Stacy and Kolby Porter attempt to catch a stuffed animal tossed from a float during the annual Christmas parade on Washington Street Saturday.(Melanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[12/7/03]Cloudy skies and cold temperatures had children and adults bundled up tightly in gloves, warm coats, hats and blankets as they lined Washington Street for the downtown Christmas Parade.

“The most fun about today was because I got to listen to the band,” said 7-year-old Brittanie Smythe. “Most of all I liked it because I have a lot of candy.”

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She and her family collected candy canes, cups, cup holders and frisbees thrown from the floats.

Brittanie’s cousin, Dale Griffith, 6, couldn’t pick his favorite float in the parade that drew a crowd in the thousands, but said he liked the motorcycles that passed by because, “they go fast and loud.”

Not only were children out and about to watch the parade, but adults as well, braving temperatures in the low 40s.

Brooks Simpson, 84, said she watched downtown parades from the balcony of the Valley Department Store, where she was a buyer for 26 years.

Saturday, she stood across from the store and watched as her two great-grandchildren waved from the Redwood Elementary School float.

That Steamboat Willie float, filled with nearly every Disney character including Cinderella, Snow White, Mary Poppins, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, took home Best in Show.

Other winners were: The Vicksburg Post, Most Original; Rainbow Casino Hotel, Best Business; and Beechwood Elementary School, Best School/Civic Organization.

The parade of 60 floats, marching bands, groups walking and horses followed Washington Street from Belmont to Jackson streets.

Dressed in a three shirts, a fleece pullover, a toboggan and at times covered in a blanket, 12-year-old Brandon Jackson was shielded from the cold temperatures.

He was filled with school pride as the Vicksburg Junior High School band marched past. It was his favorite part of the parade because he’s a seventh grader there.

Brandon attended the parade with his mom, Donna Moore, and his twin brother and sister Corey and Candice, both 3.

“I got off work at 10, just so I could watch this parade,” Moore said.

As the Ameristar Casino Hotel float came by, she said, “This is my favorite float.”

Moore is a server in the new Heritage Buffet at the casino.

Near the end of the parade that lasted just more than an hour, the sun broke through the clouds and softened the bite of the winter chill that was in the air.

“This is something everyone enjoys year after year,” said Rosalie Theobald, director of the Vicksburg Main Street Program, which sponsored the parade along with the Vicksburg Jaycees. “And we will continue to make it better and better for the people of Vicksburg.

“It’s a fun time for all.”