The Starkville community will kick off this year’s Christmas festivities with its annual Christmas Parade in downtown Starkville at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2. The parade will start on Russell Street and go through Lampkin Steet, Montgomery Street, Main Street, Washington Street and then loop back to Lampkin Street.
Paige Watson, Special Events and Project coordinator for the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, said chamber businesses, local organizations and marching bands will participate in the parade. Some organizations and businesses will also create floats to drive during the parade.
According to Watson, the theme for the parade is "A Town and Gown Christmas." The theme refers to the two communities of a college town, students and locals. The parade celebrates the relationship between the City of Starkville and Mississippi State University.
“It’s honoring the relationship we have with the university and all of the different organizations within the university that create a downtown presence and help revitalize Main Street,” Watson said.
The parade honors organizations like the Idea Shop and GLO, both starting from the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach.
MSU President Mark Keenum and Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill will be this year’s Grand Marshalls. Spruill said she is excited to share the Grand Marshall duties with President Keenum.
According to Spruill, the parade has been around since she was a child. She said it is a great opportunity to be with friends while paving the way for the upcoming holiday season.
Spruill said organizations like the Commercial Dispatch, WCBI and the Starkville Police Department had floats in previous parades.
“The parade has always been very successful and has grown over the years, and I’m excited for the parade to start all of the fun that comes with the month of December,” Spruill said.
Maggie Robinson, a senior elementary education from Huntsville, Alabama, will participate in the parade as a member of the Famous Maroon Band. Robinson has marched in the parade for the past three years.
Robinson said the parade has a great atmosphere, and it is a fun time for the local Starkville community and MSU students to come together and celebrate Christmas before the fall semester ends.
“I love seeing familiar faces and kids smiling at us as we march down the street. I think students and community members should see the parade at least once,” Robinson said. “It really gave me an appreciation for this sweet, small college town.”
Special Events and Project Coordinator Watson encouraged everyone to come out to the parade. Watson said it will be a little cold outside, but it will be worth it to celebrate Christmas season with the community.
“The parade is a great family event, and it is so much fun getting to see everyone and all of the floats,” Watson said. “It is a showcase of Starkville’s best, and I am excited to get everyone in the holiday spirit.”