St. Andrews parade a good gift in a small package - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

St. Andrews parade a good gift in a small package

Julie Cunningham describes her Santa mobile designed for the St. Andrews Christmas parade. (Photo source: WLOX) Julie Cunningham describes her Santa mobile designed for the St. Andrews Christmas parade. (Photo source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

Not many neighborhoods have their own Christmas parade, but the one by the St. Andrews Homeowners Association has been rolling for more than 40 years.

For residents, it’s source of pride and a reflection of character. There are only two requirements to participate.

“Just show up,” said coordinator Tommie Yanik with a laugh. “And the holiday spirit.”

But on Sunday, gaudy is the key to critical success. The moving Christmas tree cart is owned by Bob and Terry Bliss.

“I talked to one judge and that judge didn't like anything gaudy,” Bob Bliss said. “We talked to another judge and he says he loves gaudy. So, here we are. Up one down one.”

In the end, however, the Bliss mobile came in a close second to golf cart greatness. The titan of tacky was the Santa mobile, headed by chief designer Julie Cunningham.

“This is my parents’ golf cart,” Cunningham said. “My mom and I decorate it every year.”

It’s no wonder it won - with its embellishments featuring high tech natural lighting. And, of course, a bell.

For everybody, the parade is simply a sideshow to a much bigger message.

“It’s all about getting together,” Cunningham said. “We have a lot of social groups in this neighborhood and we are always getting together and having fun events.”

Terry Bliss added, “We have parties and get togethers. We’re a bunch of friends. The whole neighborhood is just friends."

The parade is a reflection of that culture, no matter how small it is.

“We have a sense of community out here,” Yanik said. “If someone needs us, we jump in there and help take care of it.”

It took only a few throws to give a warm welcome to new St. Andrews resident, Tony Vanderslice, and his family.

“I think it’s great,” Vanderslice said. “Seems to be something to bring the community together.”

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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