By LaBetha Casey
The chill in the air did not dispel the thrill of the 7th annual Stonewall Christmas parade held on the North DeSoto School campus on Saturday afternoon, December 17. With a theme of Elf on the Shelf, approximately 43 entries were vying for trophies that were presented by parade organizer, Charlotte Newcomb. The names of the winners who were judged by Mart and Carolyn Thomas and announced prior to parade were: Best of Theme–Boy Scout Troop #160, Elfin Award–International Student Exchange, Best Performing Group–Evolution Twirl, Most Spirited–The Little School, and Committee Award–Trail Lizards Jeep Club. Several local businesses had made contributions to fund the parade.
Volunteers were on hand to accept donations of toys to be distributed to needy children throughout the community. A table with hot chocolate was set up to help warm those who were awaiting the start of the parade.
Newcomb was sorely disappointed that the “exquisite” ride that was supposed to carry Santa throughout the parade had mechanical problems and was unable to fulfill its duties. However, DeSoto Parish Fire District #3 came to the rescue with one of their firetrucks to escort Santa and his helpers.
About 6:35 PM, Sheriff Jayson Richardson offered the prayer just before the parade rolled out. There were vehicles of all sizes ranging from 4-wheelers to a large wrecker truck adorned with flashing lights. Many of the vehicles and/or floats shared the Christmas spirit with Christmas music. An abundance of goodies of all sorts were thrown to the parade watchers.
Riding in a 1949 Ford pickup truck owned and restored by Dennis Shirley was Grand Marshal, Sarah Copeland. When asked why she was chosen as Grand Marshal, she replied,” The parade organizers wanted to honor me as someone who had a children’s book published and released this year. Also, I started the Little Free Library located in the Stonewall park.” Though the main focus is for children’s books to be available, adults can also take a book and/or leave a book for free. Copeland started the free library for the joy of sharing reading with the community. Sitting beside her in the back of the truck was her 7 year-old son, John, who is the main character in her recently released book.