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Crowds rock the night away at annual Christmas parade

By Staff
WINNING FLOAT Brenda Lee imitates Tina Turner in a mock USO show on the Naval Air Station Meridian float for Friday night's Christmas parade through downtown Meridian. NAS Meridian's float won first place in the non-commercial division. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Dec. 1, 2001
Staff Sgt. Juan Gomez spent the last two weeks singing Elvis tunes in front of his bathroom mirror in the barracks at Naval Air Station Meridian.
On Friday night, Gomez put his skills to use in the Christmas parade through downtown Meridian all parading to the theme of "Rock n Roll Christmas."
All the hard work paid off as the NAS Meridian float won first place in the non-commercial division. Gomez, on active duty with the Marines at NAS Meridian. said the parade has helped raise the morale of the troops on base.
Thousands from around the area gathered in downtown Meridian for the Christmas parade. The parade, originally scheduled for Thursday, was postponed a day because of bad weather.
Some of the crowd seemed pleased with the change.
McElroy said her daughter wasn't worried about the cold weather, though, because "she just wants to win."
Jaquita Jordan said she had played some of her old record albums for her two daughters this week to prepare for the parade's theme.
Eight-year-old Bowen Hairston Jr, who dressed up as an elf for the Pro Floor float, said he enjoyed preparing for his first parade.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228, or e-mail him at