(WMC-TV) - The Whitehaven Christmas Parade kicked off the holiday season on the heels of tree lighting ceremonies all over town.
Some say the high turnout Saturday, could a prelude to a community turnaround.
The sound of drums, horns, and cheers drew five thousand revelers to the Whitehaven Christmas Parade from all over Memphis.
"The biggest turnout ever. What a great sun shiny day," said Whitehaven Christmas Parade Organizer Hazel Moore.
But residents' excitement is just the tip of the iceberg.
"It's about love, it's about community, it's about action!" said Whitehaven First Tennessee Employee Sherry Terrell.
Whitehaven is bracing for 43 million dollars in upgrades.
"We're excited about less utility wires and poles, we're excited about green shrubbery being planted, wider sidewalks, smoother roads," said Memphis Councilman Harold Collins.
Collins sees a tipping point.
"We're hopeful that this particular project will spur more growth in our community," said Collins.
Residents have worried about boarded up buildings.
"Even though many of the businesses have left Whitehaven, we're still here. First Tennessee is still going strong," said Terrell.
But with rumblings of a possible Graceland expansion in the coming years, and Aerotropolis upgrades on the horizon - Whitehaven just may be on the brink of rebirth.
"Merry Christmas, Happy New Year! Go Whitehaven!" said Terrell.