Natchez parade lights up night

Published 12:13 am Sunday, December 7, 2008

NATCHEZ — For Ami Scott, it wouldn’t be Christmas without spending a cold winter night in downtown Natchez.

Scott said the Natchez Christmas parade has been a staple in her family’s Christmas plans for longer than she can remember.

The parade is so important to her family that this year, when the family of four was paring down the hectic holiday schedule, cutting out the annual parade wasn’t even discussed.

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“It was non-negotiable according to the kids,” Scott said.

The mother of two said she couldn’t fathom what her children would say if they didn’t head out to the parade.

“I don’t even want to think about it,” Scott said. “Not going isn’t worth their disappointment.”

This year’s “Around the World” theme certainly didn’t disappoint.

Floats, brightly lit with lights of all colors and sizes, some twinkling and some shining steady, rolled through downtown Natchez Saturday night.

One float, representing the U.S. Coast Guard, was shaped like a boat. Another, from Highland Baptist Church, features singing angels and a actor portraying Jesus waving to the crowd.

Though the floats were decorated for the enjoyment of the crowd some managed to take home awards.

The float taking home first place honors in the “Best representation of the theme” was the Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi float.

The “Best representation of a traditional Fhristmas” winner was Highland Baptist Church’s float titled “Gift of Jesus around the world.”

Winner in the “Most new and different” category was the royalty float from the Krewe of Pheonix.

Marching bands from as far away as Shreveport entertained the crowds with Christmas carols and local band In Red Letters played a mixture of Christmas songs and original music aboard the float sponsored by Doc Big Love’s.

No matter the size or design, they all had one thing that was especially pleasing to the crowds of children — candy.

“I like the candy,” 4-year-old Briana Reed said with plastic bag in hand.

Margaret Parsons had one good reason for bundling up for the parade.

“Her,” she said pointing at her daughter, Kate, dressed festively in reindeer antlers and a blinking red nose.

Kate Parsons, 4, was excited about the parade because Santa would be coming soon.

She was being especially well behaved because she knew he was close by and might bring her “a baby and a buggy.”

Margaret, who hasn’t missed a parade since Kate was a baby, said the Christmas parade was a tradition from her childhood is one she and her husband wanted to carry on with their daughter.

“We’ve been coming with her for three years since she was a baby,” Margaret said. “And I’ve been coming much longer than that.”

Carrie Scott traveled with her family from Fayette to see the Natchez parade because of its nighttime start.

“Last year was our first year to come to Natchez, and we decided to come back because it was fun for the kids,” Carrie Scott said. “The lights on the floats make it really pretty.”