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Christmas parade: More Elvises' than elves'

By Staff
EDITORIAL BOARD Liz Coats met with The Meridian Star's editorial board to talk about this year's parade. Photo by Penny Randall/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Nov. 26, 2001
Thursday night's holiday parade is likely to include more Elvises than elves as 2001's "Rock 'n' Roll Christmas" rolls through downtown Meridian.
Organizers are expecting flashy displays from the 144 units on the roster.
Liz Coats, who has chaired the parade for eight years, said this year's theme has produced a lot of interesting ideas.
Coats and Miller met with The Meridian Star's editorial board to talk about this year's parade.
Rock 'n' roll was chosen as the Christmas parade's theme before Sept. 11 but after terrorist attacks on the United States, parade organizers received phone calls asking if the theme would be changed to reflect patriotic values.
The organizers decided to defer to the Veterans Day parade.
More bands, big horses
Traditionally, downtown Meridian is packed for the parade. Miller said Thursday night is an ideal time.
Seven bands will march this year, a big increase from last year, when a scheduling conflict preventing many bands from taking part. Bands marching this year are Meridian High School, Southeast Middle School, Southeast High School, Northeast High School, Clarkdale High School, West Lauderdale High School and a bagpipe band from Jackson.
A special attraction will be an appearance by the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales from St. Louis. The huge horses stand 6 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh about a ton each. The Clydesdales' last appearance in a Meridian parade was 1955, Coats said.
Calvary Christian School will host the Santa float that will appear at the end of the parade. Having the winning entry in its division last year gave the school the option of carrying Santa in the parade this year.
Parade route and parking
The parade is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., following the Christmas tree lighting at Meridian City Hall by Mayor John Robert Smith.
Coats said spectators are asked not to park along the parade route.
Parking and viewing for handicapped people will be set up across from city hall in the parking lot of the former fire station.
Spectators are encouraged to spread out along the parade route, which has been extended up to 14th Street. The parade is expected to last about two hours.
Poplar Springs Baptist Church will have hot chocolate available in front of city hall, at Dumont Plaza and at the Doughboy Monument.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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