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West Tennessee Treasures - Humboldt - West Tennessee Strawberry Festival Parade Floats

By Brittany Patterson
By bpatterson@wbbjtv.com

Main Street in Humboldt becomes a spectacular site for nearly 100,000 people each year at the West Tennessee Strawberry Festival parades.

"As far as we know it's the biggest in Tennessee, and as far as we know we're the only festival parade that has 2 parades," said 75th Anniversary WTSF president, Randy Terry. "We have the Junior Floats
(parade) on Thursday and the Grand Floats (Parade) on Friday."

Two parades and an unmeasurable sense of pride from those who build the floats.

"I rode in my first float in the parade when I was 4-years-old," said float builder Chelsea Caraway. "My parents built floats for me and my husband's parents actually built floats for him."

Caraway is a second-year float builder. She said her group has been working countless hours since February.

"It's well worth it when we see how much fun our kids have on the days of the parade," said Caraway.

Mitzie Privitt has been building floats for 20 years and said when it comes to construction, it is all about creativity.

"There's anything from tissue to plastic to household items. Anything like that, you can just start adding," said Privitt, the official WTSF parade float builder. "We do a whole lot of tissue work. We puff floats and that's put on with wall paper paste."

Each float can cost thousands of dollars to build, and while the monetary prize for first place may not compensate that cost, the real prize is pride.

"You get recognized in our magazine we have every year," said Terry. "We have our 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners and you get recognized. It's more of a bragging right."

But, it is all in friendly competition.

"I love when you see the kids come down the road just smiling and having a big time and all their families just hollering at them taking pictures," said Privitt.

"This is what ties our community together," said Caraway. "This is something that every year is the highlight of most people who live here of their year."
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