The City of Winona will march into the Christmas season Monday night with its annual Christmas Parade.
The parade will begin at 7 p.m. on December 2, beginning at the Montgomery County Courthouse, heading east on Summit Street to Front Street, and circling back down Front Street to Magnolia Street. This year’s theme is “An Out of this World Christmas.”
The parade continues the celebration of Winona’s famous aviators. Last month, a celebration was held in honor of Astronaut Donald Peterson, a native of Winona. Another famous Winona aviator will be honored at this year’s Christmas parade.
Chief Master Sergeant Calvin “Cal” Hobbs was line chief for the 99 and 332nd famous Tuskegee Airman. He completed aerial gunnery school, was a crew chief of the first KC-135 refueling aircraft at Mather Air Force Base, working his way to Chief Master Sergeant.
Hobbs served in the military for 20 years, retiring in 1964. He first enlisted in 1944 in Omaha, NE. He worked his way up in a short period of time from aviation cadet to sergeant in 22 months. Cal was a member of the first African-American Aviation Mechanics Class at Amarillo Army Air Base.
Hobbs, in his retirement, became one of the founding members of the Tuskegee Airman, Spanky Roberts Chapter, going from place to place telling younger generations about the Tuskegee Airman.
He died in 2011 at the age of 87.
Winona Main Street Director Sue Stidham said in keeping with the celebration of Winona’s famous aviators, the parade committee elected to honor the Hobbs Family as the Grand Marshals of the parade.
“We thought because it is an ‘Out of This World Christmas,’ we wanted to recognize him for his heroic accomplishments as an aviator,” Stidham said.
Stidham said Monday’s parade will feature the Mississippi Valley State University Band, the Holmes Community College Band, Winona High School and Junior High School bands, J.Z. George Marching Band, the Greenwood High School Band, and the Amanda Elzy Marching Band.
“We’d like to make it more of a community-wide event with the surrounding communities participating,” Stidham said.
Stidham encouraged businesses, civic groups, and church groups to pick up an application from Winona City Hall on Summit Street and sign up to have a float. Deadline for parade entry is ________ Cash prizes are given for the best floats.
For more information about the parade, call Stidham at 662-283-4828.