March 20, 2013 • by Sophie McNeil Wolf

Someone has to whip the Sweet Potato Queens and their golf cart floats into shape for the Zippity Doo Dah® Parade. That person is Colby Dearman.

A project manager and designer for Fondren architecture firm Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons, the 28 year-old got involved organizing floats for the parade after a call from Jeff Good last year.

“We as a firm really try to invest in our community and participate with what happens in our neighborhoods and Zippity Doo Dah® seemed like a natural fit,” he said. “Part of my role in the firm is being able to manage and make sense of a large amount of moving parts simultaneously. Helping with the parade seemed like a natural extension.”

Leading up to the Zippity Doo Dah® Parade, Dearman organizes the golf cart floats – everything from making sure that the carts meet the parade’s overall aesthetic and vibe, helping organize their crews, to managing the specific logistics. The day of the parade, he said, is all hands on deck.

But the work, he says, is worth it and he’s inspired by the Sweet Potato Queen herself, Jill Conner Browne. “It is so inspiring to see how passionate she is for Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children, and her vision of a weekend that directly benefits the children,” he said. “I think, like all of the people who are involved, we want Zippity Doo Dah® Weekend to grow each year and be a huge success for the betterment of the community.”

While Dearman didn’t grow up in Jackson, he’s come to find it home after time in Chicago. “I always knew I wanted to return to Mississippi and I felt like Jackson was a city that I could really become engaged with and help make a difference,” he said.

Working in Fondren, Dearman finds it refreshing to be able to walk to grab lunch, pick up some groceries, go to the dry cleaners and meet up with friends all during his lunch break.

“I love the uniqueness and energy of Fondren,” he said. “It has its own identity unlike any place that I have ever visited. It has such a diverse creative class that has embraced the culture of the area and made it their own.” zdd13

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