December brings much to do with numerous public events in southeast Mississippi. Here’s what you need to know to mark your calendars. Events are listed in chronological order.
The Salvation Army will host its Christmas Kick-Off on Fri., Dec. 2, at Merchants and Marine Bank in Lucedale beginning at 4:30 p.m. Join Lieutenant Carla Lawson and others for “Love Beyond Hustle and Bustle.” The event includes hot chocolate and cookies, a chance to meet “Mr. Kettle” and an opportunity for Angel Tree adoptions.
Fulmer’s Farmstead and General Store will feature its annual Christmas in the Orchard the first three weekends in December. Fulmer’s is located at 510 Wingate Rd, Beaumont. Admission is $10 per person. A sit-down dinner including a roasted Cornish hen or glazed ham with vegetables, dessert and beverage is available by reservation for an additional $45 per person Activities include hayrides, carriage rides, live music, live nativity, Dickens’ carolers, fire pits and roasting marshmallows, gift shopping, homemade biscuits and wassail, historical walk-through cabins and much more. Call 601-964-8222 for more information.
The Main Street Leakesville organization will host a “Down Home Christmas” celebration Fri., Dec. 2 beginning late afternoon and running until 9 p.m. The opening ceremony takes place at 4 p.m. at Green Park in downtown Leakesville with holiday music provided by disc jockey Ronnie Claus. From 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. visitors can enjoy the Paulding Road Parade of Homes and a Hayride Through History. The Christmas parade will roll through downtown beginning at 6 p.m. Train rides will be available 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The band Legend and the Outlaws will perform at 7:30 p.m. followed by Nashville recording artist Jeff Bates at 8 p.m.
Also, throughout most of December, the Hattiesburg Zoo will feature “Lights of the Wild” Dec. 2-4, 9-11, and 16-23 from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary depending on the date. Contact the zoo at 601-545-4576 or online at https://hattiesburgzoo.com.
Main Street Pascagoula will present the town’s annual “Downtown for the Holidays” 5-9 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 2. The event will feature the 41st annual City of Pascgoula Christmas Tree Lighting followed by a holiday parade at 7:30 p.m. In addition to the parade, visitors can enjoy downtown restaurants, vendors, performances and carriages rides.
Lucedale’s annual Christmas parade, slated Dec. 3, will roll at 6 p.m. Sponsored by the Lucedale Rotary Club, this year’s grand marshal is businessman and city alderman Louis Valentine. The theme is “Toys, Trains and Candy Canes.”
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s “Sounds of the Holidays” is set Dec. 2-3 at 7 p.m. each night. The event will take place at MGCCC’s Immersive Media Performing Arts Center at the Harrison County Campus, 420 Debuys Rd., Gulfport. Call 228-896-2541 for ticket information.
Holiday Marketplace is set Dec. 3 at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, 5107 Arthur St., Moss Point. Visitors can enjoy a day on the bayou in Moss Point and check off holiday shopping needs. Santa will greet children and there will be live animal demonstrations, glass blowing, crafts, music, vendor shopping, chili tasting and a raffle.
Also, on Dec. 3, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art on Washington Ave. in downtown Ocean Springs will feature a free light show 6-10 p.m. The museum will host its second annual Silent Light Festival. The one-night event will feature illuminated artists and street performers. The extravaganza will also include an array of dazzling displays of interactive light shows projecting animations of Anderson’s designs with DJs performing to your personal LED-equipped wireless headphones. If you don’t have headphones, you can rent a set for $10.
On Sat., Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College will host its Cruising Christmas Car Show at the George County Center. The annual event is a family-friendly fundraising car show and touch-a-truck event designed to allow children of all ages to explore and touch vehicles of all sizes. Spectators get in free. The entry fee for the car show is $10 per vehicle or the donation of a toy. All toy donations will benefit the George County Sheriff’s Office Blue Line Toy Drive. Monetary collections and proceeds from concessions will help offset expenses for the George County Center’s Phi Theta Kappa Beta Tau Eta Chapter to attend its annual convention.
On Sat., Dec. 17, at 12 noon the Declaration of Independence Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will sponsor a wreath laying ceremony. The project is called Wreaths Across America. The event will take place at Magnolia Cemetery, the Lucedale city cemetery located on Mill St. Christmas wreaths will be placed on veterans’ tombstones during a memorial service.
Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival will be open daily at Jones Park until Dec. 31. Admission is $5 for ages 5-12 years and $15 for tourists over age 12. The event has more than a million lights, fun rides, entertainment and opportunities to visit Santa at his village.
Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum’s 6th annual Christmas Lights Festival will recur daily 5-9 p.m. until Dec. 31, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children.
Happy holidays, y’all!
Award-winning journalist Nancy Jo Maples has been writing about Mississippi people and places for more than 30 years. Contact her at [email protected].