Big man, elves cruise Natchez, give gifts

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, December 25, 2012

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Grace Dykes, 7, left, and her sister Lauren, 4, show their excitement about the candy they collected Monday morning during the Santa Claus Parade on Arrowhead Road.


NATCHEZ — Candy for breakfast is only acceptable one day a year in Amy and Dallas Dykes’ house — Christmas Eve.

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Camp Blunschi, 5, throws pieces of candy into one of his two bags he collected after the Santa Claus Parade drove by Monday morning on Briarwood Road.

And that’s only because Santa Claus makes a special trip by the Dykes’ house during the annual Santa Claus Committee Parade.

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The Dykes’ children, Grace, 7, Lauren, 4, and Duke, 2, stood outside the family’s house in their pajamas Monday morning and scooped handfuls of candy from the ground as Santa and committee members tossed it their way.

And the children weren’t picky when picking out their candy.

“We don’t have a favorite,” Grace said with a mouthful of bubblegum.

Dallas said this year was the children’s first time experiencing the parade. The family recently moved to Natchez from Cordova, Tenn.

“We didn’t really know to expect this many cars (in the parade),” he said. “I saw some guys we know, some we go to church with, so we enjoyed it.”

Dallas said he thought the children got more candy during the parade then they did at Halloween.

“It was awesome,” Lauren added.

Santa stopped in front of 3-year-old Wells Linton and 5-year-old Camp Blunschi on Briarwood Road and gave the children each a quarter, a stuffed animal and, of course, candy.

Linton clutched her stuffed leopard and admired the pile of candy she had collected.

“I liked getting to get all the candy,” she said.

Blunschi also said the candy was the best part of the parade.

“I think I got more at Halloween, but I still got a lot, a lot,” he said peeking into his gift bag full of treats.

The Santa Claus Committee got its start in Natchez in 1928, when a group of businessmen decided they wanted to ensure that even the less-fortunate local

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Dallas and Amy Dykes wave and stand with their children Duke, 2, Grace, 7, and Lauren, 4, as the Santa Claus Parade passes by their house Monday morning on Arrowhead Road.

children have a happy Christmas.

The committee exists only for charitable purposes, and members pay yearly dues to participate in the parade.