Sturgis celebrates Halloween with Boo Parade

Main Street of Sturgis Mississippi featured the third annual Boo Parade on Tuesday. Businesses gave candy to children from West Elementary School. (Photo by Sarah Raines, SDN)
Staff Writer

Around 160 students from West Elementary School rode in the back of trailers and walked to visit Sturgis Main Street on Tuesday for the annual Boo Parade, where business-owners and retailers of downtown Sturgis handed out candy for Halloween.

Sturgis Mayor Billy Blankenship grew up in Sturgis. Before the consolidation took place, what is now West Elementary School educated from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Blankenship said the school was something the community rallied around, but over the years the bond between the school and the town has weakened. Events like the Boo Parade allow the school and the community to interact more.

"The involvement with our school … is now coming back and it reminds me of the days when I was young and this town was 100 percent about the school," Blankenship said. "I think that's the direction we're headed, through the involvement of the young kids, growing and learning and being a part of this town and knowing the person that owns the hardware store or knowing the person that owns this store … and being familiar with the people in Sturgis."

West Elementary School Principal Gabrielle Mills said the event gives the children the opportunity to see downtown.

"A lot of times the kids will come straight to school and they'll turn around and go home, so they don't know what our downtown has to offer," Mills said. "It's a good way for them to get to know our community a little better."

Adam's Hardware owner Walter Turner said the merchants look forward to the Boo Parade.

"It's a way to try to tie the town and the school together, to keep contact with them," Turner said. "The kids enjoy it and we're always glad to see them and the teachers."

Adam's Hardware has been in downtown Sturgis for 73 years and Turner said he looks for opportunities to be involved with the school. When it had more grades, Turner said the town would come out to support the high school football games and sporting events, but with the elementary school they find other ways to get involved, including reading programs each year and awards ceremonies the school hosts.

Sturgis Smokehouse Barbecue owner Mark Welch brought his granddaughter and her cousin to help pass out candy from his business.

"What we're trying to do is we're trying to rebuild Sturgis with some community involvement and with the pride in this town and bring it back," Welch said. "It starts by all this local support."

West Elementary School is hosting a community fall festival Friday night in the gym, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Sturgis Smokehouse Barbecue will be selling food and proceeds will go to the Parent Teacher Organization.