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The city of Memphis used to be rife with parades -- the Cotton Carnival, Cotton Maker's Jubilee, Gay Memphis, Fourth of July parades, and, thanks to Pat Kerr Tigrett, an Elvis Presley parade that featured dozens of hound dogs and Sun Records founder Sam Phillips astride a giant silver-and-red rocket. In recent years, however, such spectacles have been on the wane. Luckily, the Christmas parade is still an annual tradition in communities all over the county, including Collierville, Whitehaven, and even Orange Mound, where Santa usually rides in the back of a convertible and motorcycle gangs strut their stuff. The big one -- the Bank of America Downtown Holiday Parade, as it's called -- is this weekend, thankfully back on land after a misguided attempt a few years ago to float it in the Wolf River Harbor. It ain't exactly Mardi Gras, but there will be plenty of marching bands, step dancers, Grizz (our local NBA mascot), a dozen floats, and local celebrities galore making their way down Beale Street on Saturday afternoon. Arrive at noon to take part in the Handy Park Holiday Festival that will include music from area high school bands, WDIA- and Hallelujah WHAL-sponsored blues and gospel artists, and acts from Rock 103's "The Great Unsigned." The kids can get their photos taken with Santa, and you'll wind up with a prime viewing spot for the parade, which starts at 4 p.m.

The Bank of American Downtown Holiday Parade, Beale Street, 4 p.m., Saturday, December 16th

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