The TSDmemphis.com Holiday Parade – sponsored by The New Tri-State Defender – will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday (Dec. 8), with a slight adjustment in the parade route, and the addition of special recognition for the state champion Tigers of Whitehaven High School.
The parade, which signals the return of a tradition to Downtown Memphis, will begin at the intersection of Fourth St. and Beale Street, head west on Beale to Second St., proceed south on Second St. to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., then east on MLK to Third St., head north on Third St. to Beale Street Alley, and then east back to Fourth St., where it will culminate.
TSD President/ Publisher Bernal E. Smith II said the earlier startup time and the adjustment in the parade route were modifications made to further account for the University of Memphis Tigers basketball game at the FedExForum. The Tigers play Austin Peay University at noon.
Smith also said the parade now will honor the Whitehaven High School football team, which won the TSSAA state title in Division 1, 6A in Cookeville, Tenn., last Saturday. The Tigers defeated the back-to-back defending champion Maryville High School Rebels in a thrilling 36-35 overtime victory. It was the cap to a perfect 15-0 season and the first state football title for Whitehaven.
"The way they represented the city and the excitement they brought to the city deserves to be recognized," said Smith, who also is a Whitehaven graduate.
"We were already doing a parade and here is a chance to have these champions from Memphis have a real championship parade down Beale Street in the heart of downtown with The New Tri-State Defender leading all of that. It's great opportunity to recognize those young men and Dr. (Vincent J.) Hunter, the principal, and coach (Rodney) Saulsberry for the great work they are doing over there with young people."
Whitehaven will actually be in the parade in a prominent position, Smith said.
"The players, the coaches, as well as their band ... the choir will sing and perform, we will have their majorettes perform. We will probably also have some presentations from Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins, who represents the district, and possibly even the mayor."
Downtown has not had a holiday parade downtown in several years. Smith reiterated that
many in the community have been looking forward to the return of just such an event.
"It is always great to bring kids and families out to celebrate during this time of year and what better place to do it than the heart of downtown and historic Beale Street where our offices just happen to be."
Organization and lining up for the parade starts at the corner of Fourth and Beale streets at 8 a.m. Christmas songs and entertainment will flow as the participating groups and floats are lined up for the now 9:30 a.m. start.
The parade also presents an additional opportunity for contributions to the Olympic Cares Toy Drive (organized by Olympic Tax Service) sponsored by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, Frito Lay, Cricket Communications, Mapco and The New Tri-State Defender. Participants and parade-watchers are asked to donate a new toy to the toy drive, which officially ends on Dec. 10th. The toys will be given away at the Neighborhood Christian Center (NCC) on Dec. 13th to families that have signed up with NCC.
Registrations for the TSDmemphis Holiday Parade will be taken through Dec. 6th. Affordable sponsorship opportunities for businesses are still available as well.
For more information on how to participate in the parade, contact Nina Johnson at 901-679-8545, call the TSD offices at 901-523-1818.