For the past 16 years, the Holiday Festival Parade has given area youth a positive outlet to express their creativity, and provides an opportunity to showcase their talents.
Organized by Hazel Moore, founder of the Academy for Youth Empowerment, each year the annual event brings thousands of Mid-South students and parents to the Whitehaven community to fellowship and celebrate the upcoming holiday season.
The 2013 Holiday Festival Parade will be held on Saturday (Nov. 23rd) and begins at 10 a.m. The parade is set to commence at Southland Mall, traveling North on Elvis Presley Blvd, and will conclude at Craft Street near Graceland.
More than 30 Shelby County schools, bands, and step teams will be participating in the festivities, along with appearances from several noted guests and elected officials, including Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. The parade will also include performances from local artists on the main stage.
Parade sponsors include the City of Memphis; Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins, District 3; Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority; Methodist South Hospital; First Tennessee Bank; Walgreens; State Farm Insurance; and Elvis Presley Enterprises among others.
"The Holiday Festival Parade is now the only Christmas parade that takes place in the city of Memphis, and each year we are thrilled to see how much the event has grown," said Collins. "Although it is held in Whitehaven, the parade is open to anyone who is interested in attending and we are inviting the entire city and county to celebrate with us."
Event organizer Hazel Moore is a recognized business leader and community activist who is affectionately known throughout the city as the "Mayor of Whitehaven."
"We just want to show our kids that their community cares about them and let them know that good things do happen here," said Moore. "The parade gives the students something positive to look forward to each year...something that they can take part in and be proud of."