By ANGIE CARNATHAN
For the first time in a decade, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership is teaming up with the Chamber of Commerce Board, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Main Street Association to build a float for the upcoming Starkville Community Christmas Parade. The theme of this year’s parade is “Christmas in Candyland.”
Kim Jones, owner of Mary Virginia’s Maternity and Children’s Consignment volunteered to help with the float, as did Christine Tibbet and Jennifer Burt of Christine’s Couture, Jennifer Prather of Schilling and Schilling Law Firm, Melissa Dixon of BluFish Design Studio and GSDP Vice President of Tourism Development Jennifer Gregory.
“This is the first year that the partnership has done a float, or at least the first one in 10 years, so we’re really excited to represent the partnership,” Gregory said. “Melissa Dixon is also the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Board, so we have the GSDP, the Main Street Association and the CVB all represented here.”
Tibbet said she and Burt were excited for the opportunity to get involved with the project.
“We got an email from Melissa asking for help, and we had always wanted to do something with the parade, so we were glad to volunteer,” Tibbet said.
The float idea the group came up with was to build a gingerbread house to keep in line with the “Christmas in Candyland” theme.
“Kim Jones of Mary Virginia’s had previous experience building ginger bread houses,” Dixon said. “So then we just had to recruit Austin Shafer and Jeremiah Dumas to do some construction for us.”
Shafer is the vice president of membership and chamber of commerce and Dumas currently serves as Ward 5 alderman and chairman of the CVB. Dumas said he and Shafer were happy to help with the construction, although he hopes they did everything correctly.
“Austin and I put it together, so we’re just praying nobody gets hurt if the thing falls off the trailer,” Dumas said, laughing. “The GSDP has just put such a major effort into getting our city beautiful and festive this year. Between the new Christmas tree that’s going to be lit after the parade and the new decorations, we decided we needed to revamp the parade as well.”
Dumas said he believes it’s best for city leaders to lead by example.
“If we want people to get involved in the Christmas spirit it helps for us to get our own house in order and show them that we’re willing to put forth the effort, too,” Dumas said.
Gregory said she was very appreciative of all the volunteers, and said she wanted to give a special thanks to Bell Building Supply for giving the group a place to build the float.
“Although the Christmas parade will be judged by a special panel, the GSDP float is not entered in the competition,” Jones said. “We just did this to have fun and get in the spirit.”
The Starkville Community “Christmas in Candyland” Parade begins at 6 p.m. Monday. The lighting of the Community Christmas Tree will take place immediately following the parade. For more information, go to http://visit.starkville.org .