Despite a slight rain, thousands of local residents lined Main Street and the historic Murfreesboro square on Sunday afternoon for Murfreesboro Annual Christmas Parade.
Grand Marshal Christine Huddleston
The parade Grand Marshal was a local resident who helps the homeless on a daily basis. Parade Coordinator Angie Walker told WGNS the Grand Marshal was Christine Huddleston who is the founder and director of the Room In The Inn on West Main Street.
She got the local homeless program going in Murfreesboro almost 25-years ago. At that time, seven churches offered their facilities for overnight housing. (left photo: Christine Huddleston last week on WGNS talk show)
At that time, Christine and her late husband, Clyde, not only coordinated the program, but they were also the primary source of financial support as well. In fact, that was true up until Clyde's death about 10-years ago.
Room In The Inn was growing dramatically by then, and the City of Murfreesboro generously allowed her to use a city structure.
Even though the program has grown, Christine still oversees the operation, and still is a volunteer. Since Huddleston is the director of this non-profit, people are amazed when they learn that it's totally gratis--a gift from her. She helps daily and has made a difference in the lives of many.
Many Great Parade Entries
Pre-Parade Pictures HERE:
Due to the potential of getting instruments wet, the only elements missing from this year’s parade were the bands.
The City of Murfreesboro’s “Mayor’s Cup” award as the “best overall entry” went to the Murfreesboro City Schools. It was a miniature school bus and inside was a warm and cozy Dr. Linda Gilbert, school superintendent.
Recipient of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce’ “President’s Award for Community Spirit” was the Stones River National Battlefield. Its float depicted how local citizens helped defend their home and help the troops as cannons were aimed at this city’s historic courthouse. By the way, it is only about 3-weeks from the 151st anniversary of what is described as the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. “The Battle of Stones River” was fought here in Murfreesboro starting December 31, 1962 and continuing for three tragic days.
Parade Crowd Pictures HERE:
The brisk day didn’t slow creative entries. Bob Lamb’s Exit Realty had the “Winning Business or Industry” float. The theme of this year’s parade was “family traditions”, and this unique float was of a family together in their living room at Christmas. Even the fireplace was puffing out smoke, while the big screen on the wall showed the story of Rudolph.
The top scout entry went to Girl Scout American Heritage Troop 1218, whose float depicted ginger bread houses.
The top walking unit trophy went to The Dance Academy. The younger dancers were atop a moving float, while the older students did a highly choreographed routine along the parade route.
The winning “church or school” entry went to the Siegel High School Future Farmers of America (FFA). Their float included an agricultural holiday scene with an all-terrain vehicle pulling a sleigh filled with presents.
Honors for the “civic and social float” went to Myer’s Creek Haunted Woods. A beautiful gnome house with trees and snow set the mood for this winning entry. The group originally got together to have a haunted house and raise money for a local cancer victim. It was so successful that they have continued with a goal of helping others.
Parade Participant Pictures HERE:
Couldn't Stand To Not Have Christmas Parade
WGNS Talk Radio continued as the coordinating sponsor of the parade. The station’s Lee Ann Walker said, “We took the parade on three-decades ago, when another group decided to drop out. I just couldn’t stand by and see our community not have a Christmas parade.” She noted has become one of those family traditions that has grown with the Heart of Tennessee.
Can't Wait For Christmas 2014
Parade Coordinator Angie Walker noted, “The parade is a joint project of several groups who are dedicated to preserving the wonderful feeling of community. However, this year the Murfreesboro Police Department, Middle Tennessee State University and the Stones River Amateur Radio Club played an even more vital role. They really went the extra mile to assure that the mechanics of the event went flawlessly.”
She stressed that only working sponsors are a part of the parade. Outstanding working sponsors included ATMOS Energy who puts together Santa’s big entrance. Mid-South Bank who is in charge of carrying the “winner banners” in front of each top group, plus they store and maintain the banners from year to year. The Murfreesboro Noon Exchange Club continues to assist with parade line-up and staging of this huge endeavor. In fact, most people don’t realize it, but a normal Murfreesboro Christmas Parade has over a thousand volunteers who make it happen.
Angie and her husband Scott, who is president and general manager of WGNS, work as a team on many aspects of this annual community event. They say the local radio station’s involvement will continue, and she noted, “I’ve been helping for most of the past years and we’re excited that new technology will enable next year’s Murfreesboro Christmas Parade to try new and exciting approaches. Hopefully, it will capture even more of that hometown feeling.”
Now the parade group begins plans for next year’s big Yuletide treat. Here’s a heads-up to 2014 entries. The parade will continue to be on the second Sunday in December. That puts it at 2:00 o’clock on Sunday afternoon, December 14, 2014. And the deadline to have all entries at WGNS Talk Radio will continue to be the Friday after Thanksgiving. That will be next November 28th.
And to borrow an old phrase, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.”