SMITHVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- First Lady Deborah Bryant made a stop in Smithville Saturday afternoon to tour the school and to serve as Grand Marshal for the town's Christmas parade.
Bryant had a few laughs with the Smithville Parade Committee and the mayor, following the town's annual parade.
The First Lady of Mississippi was a popular figure with local residents, particularly children, who were happy to receive candy and treats from this year's parade Grand Marshal.
"I'm heading up the parade. It seemed like the right thing to do at Christmas and I was excited to be asked to do it," said Bryant.
This was not Bryant's first trip to Smithville.
She and her husband, Gov. Phil Bryant, were here earlier this year to remember the one-year anniversary of the tornado which devastated the town of Smithville.
She did take time to tour the school Saturday afternoon. She said she was very well pleased with what she saw.
"They've made so much progress," she said. "And they're going to be open by August of next year. I'm so excited to see that they've got the old school coming down and the new school coming up. There's a lot to look forward to here in Smithville. They've come a long way."
Local officials were quick to point out that having the First Lady in town for the Christmas parade was good for the local morale.
"We've been blessed today. Had a good crowd in town. We had lunch. We went and toured all the new construction going on all over town and the new school and capped it off with a parade," Smithville Mayor Gregg Kennedy said. "It's been a great day."
Kennedy said Gov. Bryant and the First Lady have been ardent supporters of the town, having come into office not long before the tragic tornado touched down in April of 2011.
That's why parade committee members said the choice of Deborah Bryant as Grand Marshal was a no-brainer.
"We chose her because she has done fabulous things for Smithville and supported us a lot in efforts that we have had to do since the tornado. We chose her to be our Grand Marshal for the parade," said Kim Johnson, the town's disaster workforce recovery assistant.
"We just feel blessed to be here, very blessed to see where Smithville has come and where they are going. We want to be here every day," Bryant said.
The First Lady says she will return to Smithville in April for the town's Clean Up Day.