Zippity Doo DahÂ®Â organizersÂ say a new record has been set. Parade committee lead and Fondren Renaissance Executive Director Jim Wilkirson said by phone that theÂ crowdÂ estimates coming in show that 15-20,000 peopleÂ enjoyedÂ theÂ nighttimeÂ parade. “Overwhelmed”, he says of the sheer numbers Fondren saw on Saturday for the event that featured the Sweet Potato QueensÂ®, theÂ BudweiserÂ Clydesdales and the Sonic Boom. Blair E. Batson Children’sÂ HospitalÂ will benefit from funds raised through raffles, carnivals, auctions and private donations and a final number is being tallied by organizers this week. “It truly was a BIG weekend for Fondren”.
With an increased crowd came another increase: the amount of debris. “It’s an unfortunate side effect”, Wilkirson tells us, “but we AREÂ dealingÂ with it today”. He says that while crews picked up trash on Friday and Saturday mornings, the influx of parade goers left extra clutter that has to be removed. “Between private, hired entities and the City of Jackson, trash and barricade removal should be complete by the end of today”. Wilkirson says he appreciates the patience of the community and their willingness to host an event that was all for a good cause. “We couldn’t have done this without you”.