Thousands turn out on a beautiful night for city’s Christmas parade

Published 7:58 pm Saturday, December 3, 2022

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NATCHEZ — Thousands of Natchez children — and children at heart — lined downtown Natchez streets on a Saturday evening perfect for the city’s annual Christmas parade.

Temperatures were in the mid-60s with a slight breeze and no precipitation.

The parade kicked off at 6 p.m. sharp, as promised, and made its way up Franklin Street, turned on Rankin Street, and headed west on Main, returning to Canal Street.

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Curtis Moroney, parade director with the Christmas in Natchez committee, said the parade went off without a hitch.

“I thought it went well. Logistically, police coverage was good, and the work of the public works department was great,” he said.

One change this year was Santa’s position in the parade.

“Santa usually rides on the fire truck at the end of the parade, but this year, he had to ride in the front. Those guys at the fire department are apparently down a truck or two, and the truck in the parade was an actual truck on duty. Had there been a fire, we needed to put them in a position they could get out of the parade quickly. So, Santa and the Natchez Fire Department truck were in the front of the parade this year. If they had gotten a call, they would have had to drop Santa somewhere and go cover the fire. If they were in the back of the parade, they would have been stuck. It would have been much harder to get the fire truck out of the parade and on its way,” Moroney said.

He did not have an exact count of the number of floats in the parade but said, “it was quite a few.”

“I think that we had a lot of groups that have stepped up their game. The Mardi Gras floats are participating in the Christmas parade now, and those are some impressive floats. Every time one float picks up their game, others say to themselves, ‘We’ve got to do better,’ and we wind up with some great floats,” Moroney said.

The Natchez High School Marching Band was strategically placed at the front of the parade to set the pace.

“A marching band at the beginning keeps others in line. Without them setting the pace, others may run too fast. The Natchez High Marching Band kept people on a good pace.

“We are thankful for the cooperation and help of the police department, the fire department, and especially the city’s public works department. Public works did a great job. They got out early and put barricades and traffic cones in place. Police officers were stationed at key locations. The logistics of the parade make it all work and keep some traffic flow, and we are thankful for all these guys.”

Moroney has been organizing parades in the city since 2006 when he began directing the city’s Mardi Gras parades.