Christmas Parade estimated to have attracted largest crowd ever; the big secret revealed in parade was the long-lost Frostop mug

The missing mug.

The missing mug. It will be on display again on Friday night at City Hall. (Photo courtesy City of Picayune) It was blown off the top of the Frostop during Hurricane Camille in 1969. It was salvaged by a Picayune businessman, and stored in a barn for decades until recently rediscovered. The city acquired it and restored it and hopes to blend it in to the downtown sections historic renovation now underway.

PICAYUNE, Miss., Tue. Dec. 3, 2013 — Officials of the Picayune Civic Woman’s Club, who sponsor the annual Picayune Christmas Parade, say that record crowds turned out on Monday night in downtown Picayune to view one of the largest and longest parades ever, which included 84 entries. It was the 53rd parade and the most popular event held here.

Officials, including estimates from the Picayune police dept., estimated a crowd of 10,o0o persons lined the streets over which the parade traveled, down Goodyear Boulevard, south on Hwy. 11 (Harvey Ave.) right on Bruce Street at Don’s Seafood, south on Main Street, left on West Canal and back around by West Side Elementary School, back to Goodyear Boulevard.

Parade Grande Marshal was Tami Harris, who was the CWC Woman of the Year.

Said Picayune CWC member Darlene Adams, “It is the largest crowd I’ve ever seen. We had perfect weather this time, and that probably had a lot to do with it.” Adams was a judge, and is president-elect of the state organization, besides being a member of the local CWC. She is also executive director of the Senior Center.

Connie Tapley is president of the CWC here.

And, of course, Santa arrived, as he does each year in Picayune’s Christmas Parade, on his own float.

And the top secret city entry was revealed: a float decked with the long-lost Picayune commercial icon, the Frostop giant mug, found in an old warehouse after it had been salvaged when it was blown off the top of the Frostop, 305 Hwy. 11 South, during Hurricane Camille in 1969.

The Frostop, owned by the Kellar family for three generations, and originally begun in the early 1950s by the senior Kellar, was a landmark for the youth here, and still makes the best roast beef poor-boys in town, and still has a loyal clientele.

City workers salvaged the mug, fixed it up and the City Council road its float with the mug on Monday night.

In the 1950s and 1960s and even later, it went like this for Picayune teens, who had a car or access to dad’s:

When they got to the Boulevard Inn, at the western terminus of the boulevard, they told one-another, “I’ll meet you at the Frostop under the mug.”

And when they got to the Frostop, they yelled out, “See ya’ on the Boulevard,” of course, after eating a roast beef po-boy,” said City Manager Jim Luke.

“That’s all there was to do in Picayune then,” said Luke, “just drive back and forth down Goodyear Boulevard to the Frostop.” Luke was instrumental in locating and refurbishing the icon mug, along with Picayune Main Street officials. “It’s so much a part of our history. It’s a miracle it survived,” added Luke. Said Mayor Ed Pinero, Jr., who pushed for the project, too, “It brings history back to life.”

The mug was restored through donations. The Frostop corporation also helped the city in the restoration process.

Picayune Main Street officials found the mug stored in a barn owned by Picayune businessman Mickey Stegall, who had salvaged it years ago. He donated it to the city. Reba Beebe and Diane Miller tracked down the mug.

It was restored under wraps by Picayune employees. Picayune officials plan to find an appropriate place to display it and work it into the historical refurbishing of the historic downtown district.

Parade award winners:

The theme was “A Story Book Christmas.”

All Categories were eligible for these awards:
    Best Over All – Toys for Tots – Kenny Smith
    President’s Special Award – Mississippi Aerospace
    Grand Marshall’s Award – St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church
    Mayor’s Special Award – Lincolns Inflatables
    Founder’s Award - Pearl River County Future Farmers of America
Category A – Floats longer than 30 feet were eligible for these awards:
    Most Beautiful – Leonard Animal Hospital
    Most Inspiring – Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
    Most Original – Orchard Lane Academy
Category B – Floats less than 30 feet were eligible for these awards:
    Most Beautiful – Mississippi Power Company
    Most Inspiring – George Ford Baptist Church
    Most Original – Carriere Volunteer Fire Department
Category C – Decorated Cars were eligible for this award:
    Best Decorated Car – Picayune Shriners Club
Category D – Decorated Trucks were eligible for this award:
    Best Decorated Truck – Jessie & Bonnie Morton
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