{Christmas parade, Holly Days dazzle downtown

Published 12:30 am Sunday, December 5, 2010

Trucks that wouldn’t start, a threat of rain and fewer floats than in previous years could not keep Kim Hopkins from having a good time at the annual Downtown Christmas Parade of Lights Saturday.

“This is the fun part,” Hopkins said with a smile as she motioned a float driver into position along Belmont Street into the parade line headed north on Washington Street.

The theme of this year’s parade was “A Gift From the Heart,” and about 50 schools, churches, businesses, non-profits organizations, school bands and color guards participated. The total was down from the 70 unitss last year and 74 in 2008, but balmy temperatures brought plenty of people downtown for the evening event.

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Hopkins said parade volunteers estimated the crowd at 10,000 to 11,000 people, lining the route from Belmont to Jackson Street six deep in some places, with store fronts and buildings decked out with lights and decorated trees.

“It was a wonderful turnout,” Hopkins said. “We were very pleased.”

The head of Vicksburg’s Main Street Program, which sponsors the parade, Hopkins said she tries to get the theme for each year’s parade announced as early as possible.

“When school starts back each year, we start getting calls asking about it,” she said. “Some of the people put months into planning and making the floats.”