"Cold Weather" Didn't Dampen The Christmas Spirit!

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This year's event was dedicated to the memory of longtime Parade Coordinator Angie Heydel Walker who was killed last month when the tornado hit Christiana.
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
Digital technology with Stones River Amateur Radio Club keeps all parts of the parade connected.
WGNS news photo
Here come the judges
WGNS news photo
Stones River Amateur Radio Club members act both as security, communications and to give directions.
Grand Marshals Dr. Sidney McPhee and First Lady Elizabeth McPhee rode in style in Bubba Woodfin's classic 1929 Packard.
L-R MTSU President Dr. Sidney A. McPhee and First Lady Elizabeth.
Bullseye Gun, Gear & Pawn received both the Mayor's Cup and Best Business-Industry Float.
Dance Works got "Best Walking Unit"
The Chamber's "President's Cup" went to Greenhouse Ministries
Greenhouse Ministries' float
Riverdale High School's FFA won the "Best Church-School Float"
Girl Scout Unit #157 receive "Best Scout-Civic-Social Float"
Best Scout entry went to Trail Life USA, troop 122
Trail Life USA, troop 122
Another "Live Like Angie" entry
WGNS news photo
Wilson Bank & Trust float
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
WGNS news photo
Family Pet Health
WGNS news photo
Entry from Stones River National Battlefield
Murfreesboro Electric Department
WGNS Traffic Director Melissa Miller
ATMOS Energy does the popular Santa float.
Mayor's Cup to Bullseye (photo by Frank Caperton)
photo by Frank Caperton
photo by Frank Caperton
(photo by Frank Caperton)
Color Guard (photo by Frank Caperton)
Jane Sharp, Greenhouse Ministries (photo by Frank Caperton)
(L-R) Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland and City Councilman Bill Shacklett (photo by Frank Caperton)
photo by Frank Caperton)
Melissa Harrell (photo by Frank Caperton)

Those attending the 2018 Murfreesboro/Rutherford County Christmas Parade enjoyed some very creative entries. Sunday's (12/9/2018) parade started on time at exactly 2:00PM with temperatures in the upper 30s.

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Winning Entries

  • The theme of this year's parade is "A Christmas Story", and the winning business-industry float came complete with a giant Daisy "Red Ryder" BB rifle and a huge Dixie Flyer wagon. Bullseye Gun, Gear and Pawn at 130 Shelby Street took home the prize!
  • The MAYOR'S CUP was also awarded to Bullseye as "the most outstanding participant in the parade."
  • The Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce "COMMUNITY SPIRIT" award was presented to Greenhouse Ministries.
  • Fast Tax received the best vehicle award.
  • Olivia Hayes won the best horse entry.
  • The Best Church and School float went to the Riverdale High School FFA (Future Farmers of America).
  • The Best Walking Entry was Dance Works.
  • The Best Scout Entry was Trail Life USA troop 122.
  • The Best Scout, Civic and Social Group Float was awarded to Girl Scout Unit 157.

The first of the parade honored America with a Color Guard proudly carrying Old Glory. Then a tribute to the first responders who keep our community safe. Everything from fire, police, parmedics--those individuals and their emergency vehicles pass for all to thank and cheer.

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Then area schools, churches, civic organizations, businesses and others fill-in the essentials that keep our home-town Christmas parade just as local as it has always been. Yes, "The Heart of Tennessee" really shines with generating a warmth that makes even a cold day comfortable.

Grand Marshals

MTSU President Sidney A McPhee and First Lady Elizabeth are this year's grand marshals. Special thanks to Bubba Woodfin who will be driving the McPhee's in his classic Packard touring sedan.

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, the tenth president of Middle Tennessee State University, has presided over one of the most remarkable periods of growth and progress in the institution's century-plus of service.

MTSU is the No. 1 choice for our state's transfer students, the No. 1 provider of graduates to the Greater Nashville economy, and the No. 1 choice of Tennessee adults (ages 25 and up) seeking a four-year degree. We proudly pioneered the Adult Degree Program in Tennessee. And, we are home to the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, the largest support facility of its kind in the state.

Since McPhee's arrival, MTSU has successfully raised admission standards and significantly increased enrollment of high-ability students.

First Lady Elizabeth McPhee was an educator, and retired about seven years ago. Since then, she focuses more on supporting her husband's works at the university and is True Blue in every sense.

Mrs. McPhee is well known for having a beautiful hat for every occasion, and she will prove that at the December 9th Murfreesboro Christmas Parade.

Now, the rest of the story behind her famous "hat collection". It started when Sidney took his new bride home to the Bahamas to meet his mother. She learned that women wore fashionable hats to church on Sundays as well as other social affairs. That's when the First Lady's "hat collection" began.

Tribute To Coordinator

Several of the regular participants asked to honor the memory of Parade Coordinator Angie Heydel Walker, who died early on November 6, 2018, when a tornado hit the Christiana community.

There will be tributes to Angie throughout the parade, and several of her friends will be just before WGNS in the line-up.

Angie was married to WGNS President Scott Walker, and they have two children: Reed, 17, and Olivia, 14. Angie had been involved in the parade for over 18 years. She was active at New Vision Baptist Church and an adjunct psychology professor at MTSU.

History

And now "The Rest of the Story". The parade is an endeavor of love that is created by hours dedication by several local groups. In 1984, the parade's sponsor decided to focus their energy in other directions.

WGNS Radio was approached to sponsor the 1985 Christmas Parade or see it become a memory. Fortunately, Lee Ann Walker had experience with planning public events. She also got much encouragment to keep the parade going from her 9-year old son and 4-year old daughter. By the way, all are still very much involved in the parade.

In those earlier years, groups like the Murfreesboro Noon Exchange Club joined and passed out American flags to the youngsters along the parade route. Their community involvement jumped to the forefront, when the Exchange Club took over checking-in all of the entries and lining them up.

Involved Working Sponsors

Then the Stones River Amateur Radio Club entered the picture. Tom Delker sets-up a mobile command post at MTSU for a high-tech computer operation that keeps track of each entry along the parade route. Ham radio operators are stationed at different points along the entire parade route, and offer instant communications. This is an excellent example of how amateur radio operators serve their community with events like this or through communications when the infrastructure is down due to a natural disaster.

Franklin Synergy Bank (formerly Mid-South Bank) has handled the awarding of trophies and had their staff members walking in front of each winning entry, carrying a banner showing that this is the "top entry in that category".

Santa's float is always a major attraction. The late Fayne Haynes loved to handle that entry, but as the years passed--ATMOS Energy has taken over this entry and has hosted Santa ride down Main Street. The mounted patrol from the Rutherford County Sheriffs Office encircles Santa and makes certain that all of the "good little boys and girls" are safe.

The cold temperature and chilling moisture in the air caused a decrease in attendance, but for the thousands who lined the parade route, a home-town Christmas was warmly felt and the true GOOD NEIGHBOR spirit was enjoyed by all.

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Christmas Parade, Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, WGNS
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