"Cold Weather" Didn't Dampen The Christmas Spirit!
Sunday, December 9, 2018 6:06 am
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.