Headlines – 11/16/2004

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Panolian Headlines: November 16, 2004

For complete stories, pick up the 11/16/04  issue of The Panolian
Towns Schedule Holiday Parades
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

Municipalities in Panola County are readying to kick off the holiday season as three have announced dates for their annual Christmas Parades.

The first parade of the year will be held in Crowder on Saturday, Dec. 4, and is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

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The theme for Crowder’s parade this year is "Fighting for Peace." For more information contact the Crowder Christmas Parade Chairman Kris Gentry at 326-9461 during the evenings or 326-8200 during the day.

Next on the area parade schedule is the Batesville Christmas Parade on Dec. 7. The event is sponsored by the Batesville Lions Club and will begin at 6:30 p.m. The theme this year is "It’s a Mississippi Christmas."

"We would like to see all marching groups, antique car clubs, school groups, churches, businesses and civic organizations participate in this year’s parade," Jerry Lightsey said.

For more information about the Batesville Christmas Parade contact any Lions Club member or call 563-4689.

The last parade of the year will take place in Sardis on Dec. 13 beginning at 6:30 p.m. with entrant line-up at 5:30 p.m.

According to Chamber of Commerce representative Cris Fletcher, the parade will begin at the Old Sardis High School Building on McLaurin Street and move up Main Street and onto Lee Street.

Fletcher said there will be prizes awarded to entrants with the best float.

"We will have judges from out of town to determine the winners," he said. "We are hopeful, since we are the last parade of the year, that people will save their entries from other parades and take part in ours."

In addition to the prizes, the Sardis Women’s Club has purchased new decorations for the parade route.

"The Women’s Club has used donations from local businesses to purchase banners and decorations that will be placed on Lee Street," Fletcher said. "This will certainly add something to the parade this year."

Area Merchants Hope for Solid
     Christmas Biz
By Jason C. Mattox
News Editor

Thanksgiving has yet to arrive, but that isn’t stopping local merchants from getting ready for the Christmas shopping rush that follows turkey day.

While published reports indicate the day after Halloween generated better than average sales throughout the United States, it is, traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving that kicks off the Christmas shopping season.

The feelings about the shopping season are mixed this year, however.

Linda Goodnight, owner of The Candle Shop located at 377 Highway 51, Batesville, said she is expecting a good Christmas this year.

"The numbers are up so far this season," she said. "I really think that is a trend that will continue once the major shopping starts off in the next few weeks."

Goodnight admits the holidays have come as a surprise this year.

"We aren’t finished decorating yet," she said. "But there are people who are already doing some of their shopping."

Goodnight said she also believes the cooler weather will prove to help increase sales this year.

"Last year it was a little warm for this time of year," she said. "I really think with the weather cooling off people are going to feel a lot more of the Christmas spirit.

"Last Christmas was better than the year before and I hope that happens to us again this year," Goodnight said. "It has been a good year all around. I know some people are saying it has been an off year, but I really don’t have any complaints."

Mark Smith of Plaza Jewelers located at 102 Highway 51, said he expects a later start to the Christmas rush this season.

"We are already getting a lot of lookers, but I am expecting that they will come back, it will just be later," he said. "Even though our shopping rush has been later the last few years, I am optimistic about what the season holds."

Smith said one reason he is expecting the later shoppers is because they want to put more thought into their gifts this year.

"People are really thinking hard this year," he said. "I think people are looking for that special gift that will have a lot of meaning to the person getting it."

And what about shopping at one of the biggest retailers in the area?

Well, Lisa Heafner, manager of the Factory Stores at Batesville said she doesn’t know exactly what to expect.

"Our traffic count is up from last year," she said. "I believe that our two temporary stores, Wilson’s Leather and KB Toy Express, are helping in that department."

Heafner said in an effort to help her tenants’ holiday business, the mall will begin observing longer operating hours.

"From Dec. 9- Dec. 23, we will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.," she said. "We think that extra hour could be a big help to everyone out here."

Heafner added that while she is hopeful the mall’s business will increase, she understands there is only one way for that to happen.

"If any store in the area hopes to see an increase over last year, people are going to have to start shopping at home," she said. "That will make all of the difference in the world."