Photo: Santa Claus greets those who flocked to watch the Southaven Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 2. (Photo credit: Bailee Harris)
By Bailee Harris
Saturday, Dec. 2 was the kickoff day for the Christmas parade season in DeSoto County, with appearances from police and fire departments, government officials, schools, local businesses, and more.
In Southaven, “Candy Cane Lane” came alive at 10 a.m., marking the 43rd year of their beloved Christmas parade. Southaven Police and Fire, along with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department, started off the parade with sirens blaring.
The Chamber of Commerce showcased their man and woman, non-profit leader, and their Southaven Young Professionals leader of the year.
“The Southaven Chamber of Commerce team puts in so much time and energy to help make the Christmas season as festive and as fun as it can be for families across DeSoto County,” says Andrew Bartolotta, Southaven Young Professionals leader of the year. “Being a part of this year’s parade made me extra thankful for their support and leadership helping to guide the City of Southaven into the premier place for families to live, work, worship, and play. I especially loved their effort surrounding the after event benefiting the House of Grace which was a new-added touch to this 30+ year old Christmas parade tradition.”
Southaven High School, Northpoint Christian School, and DeSoto Central Middle and High School bands performed festive tunes for spectators to enjoy.
Next, Walls hosted “Walking in a Walls Wonderland” at 12 noon.
This parade featured exciting performances from the Dynamic Dolls of DeSoto County and the Lake Cormorant High School band.
Kamarion Franklin, Lake Cormorant defensive lineman and Ole Miss football commit, made an exciting appearance during the “Walls Wonderland.”
Franklin shares his experience by stating, “What made me want to participate in the parade was just wanting to shine light on my city and give back my time. Walls doesn’t get much recognition, so I wanted to let the city know that they don’t go unnoticed.”
Olive Branch closed out the Saturday parades with their theme of “Christmas Angels.”
The Olive Branch High School, Center Hill High School, Lewisburg High School, and the North Panola marching bands performed throughout the duration of the parade. The Ingrams Mills Saddle Club and Dodson’s Saddle Club made an exciting appearance, amidst many local businesses.
While many traditional groups and floats took their time to march in each parade, there were some newcomers to make the events more interesting and exciting. Some used the parades as a way of introducing themselves to a new audience.
“Honestly, we participated in the parade to get our business name out,” said Alan Shade of Sit Means Sit Midsouth, a dog training concern. “We are a newer company in the area, and felt this event would not only be fun to participate in, but get a lot of eyes on us.”.
Each parade concluded with an appearance of Santa spreading Christmas cheer.
This Christmas season in DeSoto County has had a festive start, and there’s still more parades to come. The 65th annual Hernando Christmas parade will take place Monday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The Horn Lake Christmas parade will occur Saturday, Dec. 9 at 3:30 p.m.
Note: Bailee Harris is a journalism student at the University of Mississippi-DeSoto and a contributor to DeSoto County News.
Photos below show scenes from the Southaven, Walls, and Olive Branch Christmas parades. (Photo credit: Bailee Harris)