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Vidalia Christmas parade is 3 p.m. Sunday

VIDALIA — The Miss-Lou is kicking-off the holiday season this week and the Vidalia Women’s Club will mark the occasion with their annual Christmas Parade at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Mary Montpelier, Vidalia Women’s Club member, said the parade has helped Miss-Lou residents get into the holiday spirit for at least 40 years — right after both the City of Natchez and Vidalia Beautification Committee turn on their Christmas lights and deck the streets with decorations. At least 10 different groups and organizations have registered their floats, Montpelier said, including churches, a Natchez dance line and Vidalia cheerleaders and bands.

The floats will lineup at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Mississippi River bridge on Carter Street and will continue along the highway to Vidalia High School starting at 3 p.m., Montpelier said.

This year’s grand marshal is Deputy Walter Mackel, a heroic Concordia Parish Sheriff’s officer who was shot in the line of duty earlier this year and has now rejoined the force after a long recovery, Montpelier said.

Santa Clause will also make an appearance on one of the floats, she said. Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said the Carter Street overlay project will be finished just in time for the parade.

Santa and his reindeer friend, Echo, will also be out for a meet and greet each Monday, Wednesday and Friday up until Christmas from 5 to 7 p.m. at Santa’s Cottage between Vidalia High School and the Department of Motor Vehicles on Carter Street.

“We’ve had as many as 720 people come last year while we had it by the big tree out by the bridge,” said organizer Mark Graves. “It went so well that hopefully even more people will come back again this year.”

Graves said there is no cost to take a picture with Santa and each child will receive a candy cane. This year, a few of Santa’s elves may also come with him to Vidalia and help out and take kids’ photos with Santa and around cardboard cuts outs, Graves said.

“It’s something really good for the community to be a part of,” Graves said. “It helps locals and those passing through realize we have a lot of good people in this community. I’d like to thank the mayor because his support allows us to do this each year.”