• 86°

Lions Club has helped with parade for 35 years

One of Oxford’s most memorable annual events designed to spread holiday cheer will be held Monday.

The Oxford Lions Club will present the City of Oxford’s Christmas Parade Monday at 6:30 p.m.

“It is a gathering of the university and Oxford/Lafayette communities to celebrate the holiday season,” said Drew Windham, a member of the Lions Club.

Oxford native Windham, 26, graduated from Lafayette High School and earned a bachelor of science degree in computer science from the University of Mississippi School of Engineering.

He’s now a senior project administrator at the University of Mississippi Office of Outreach.

Windham said those who attend the parade can expect to see antique cars, bands from local schools and universities, horses, motorcycles, fire trucks, dancers, beauty queens and Santa.

The parade lineup will start at 5:30 p.m., leaving Mid-Town Shopping Center on North Lamar at 6:30 p.m.

The parade will travel south on North Lamar to the Square, halfway around and continue south on South Lamar, and then west on University Avenue.

It will officially end at the Gertrude Ford Center parking lot entrance before the university bridge.

Parade participants may begin exiting the parade at the parade center parking lot or across University Avenue on Taylor Road.

Floats will be judged before the parade at Mid-Town Shopping Center. Entrants should make sure their float’s name is clearly visible if they want to be judged. The top five floats will receive trophies.

Winners will be announced in The Oxford Eagle the following day, and trophies can be picked up at the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.

“The Lions Club has helped organize the Oxford Christmas Parade for around 35 years, and the Jaycees did it for at least 10 years before that,” said Windham. “Some members of the Oxford Lions Club have been a part of the parade for over 45 years.”

Windham said the parade brings the community together, spreads holiday cheer and brings joy to area children.

“It’s a fun experience with family, friends and neighbors with lots of holiday cheer … and candy, lots of candy,” he said.

John Mulkey, president of the Lions Club, said they are expecting good weather for the parade Monday night.

“We’re pretty heavily involved in a lot of activities for charity work, and this is just another thing we can do for the community,” Mulkey said.

Equestrian units must scoop up immediately during the parade. Firearms and dangerous behavior are prohibited.

Parade entries are strongly encouraged to complete the entire route.

There is only one Santa who will be on the last float. No other Santa will be allowed to participate in the parade.

Any candy must be handed out by walkers, and no candy must be thrown because of safety concerns.

Careless driving will not be tolerated. All floats must have walkers attending. Failure to comply with rules will result in ejection from the parade.

Parade applications are available at the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce at 229 Jackson Ave. Call 662-234-4651 for more information.

For more information, contact Windham at 662-816-3739.

The entry deadline for the parade is Monday, Dec. 7 by noon. Return an entry form in person, by fax, e-mail or mail to: P.O. Box 147, Oxford, MS 38655, Chamber of Commerce, 299 West Jackson Avenue.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

email author More by LaReeca