Brings thousands to Christmas celebration
By Angela Rogalski
The Bolivar Bullet
The 2021 annual Cleveland Christmas Parade ushered in the beginning of December with a host of floats, characters, and bands from across the Delta. With five counties and 60 parade elements represented, this parade was the largest in recent history.
Aquarius Terry, Director of Membership and Marketing Services, was the lead organizer of the parade. She said, “This year’s goal was to bring magic into the lives of families and little ones. It’s all about creating that special moment in time, based right here in our town of Cleveland, Mississippi.”
Crafting an event of this scale takes a lot of time and passion, and a large level of commitment from the community. “Public Works was essential to creating this experience,” said Terry. “It’s everything from lifting helium tanks to signage displays, and all the little things that make an event of this size possible. The City’s commitment to this special season is so apparent and appreciated.”
People of all ages walked the parade route, and it gave many youth teams, bands, and groups an opportunity to showcase their talents for the community at large. Amanda Povall, owner and director of Fusion Gymnastics, said, “We had 47 gymnasts and ninjas, ages 2-17 participate in the parade, along with several parents and coaches.” Their display included a Christmas float, bar routine, and lines of tumblers performing in the streets.
With the creative floats from businesses and organizations and a few special surprises, this year’s parade soared to new heights.
One featured stand-out was a Gingerbread man balloon, previously showcased in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Handled by volunteers from Cleveland State Bank, the balloon towered above parade spectators. Diana McDowell, Cleveland State Bank Marketing Officer, said, “I don’t think any of us will ever forget the reactions we saw from this community as we made our way through town. It was a lot of work trying to navigate the big balloon through power lines and traffic lights, but it was so worth it! The Chamber did an exceptional job of putting this event together, and Cleveland State Bank is so thankful to have been a part of this memorable parade!”
Dozens of community volunteers stepped up to make the event possible.
“When you have great community events like the Cleveland Christmas Parade and 50 Nights of Lights, it drives visitors to town, supports local business and brings people together,” said McDowell. “Cleveland State Bank recognizes these important factors, and we are always proud to support this community and these events!”
United Healthcare participated as a first-time sponsor of the Cleveland Christmas Parade. Roshelle Jordan, a broker-agent for the company, said, “The event was outstanding! It was like being a kid in a candy-store—like coming back home and being a kid again.”
The Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce encourages community members to take advantage of the additional Christmas programming happening throughout the holiday season, and seeks to promote local businesses as consumers’ first choice for holiday shopping.
For more information on programming, membership, and volunteer opportunities, please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 662-843-2712.