Meridian Star

December 3, 2012

Merry Meridian

Record numbers attend events

By Michael Stewart / Executive Editor
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Meridian Main Street's holiday Merry Meridian festivities continued Sunday with the annual Champagne Brunch at Merrehope, one of the city's few surviving antebellum homes.

    The brunch followed on the heels of a host of Merry Meridian events Saturday that included the Indoor Boutique & Outdoor Market at the MSU Riley Center and Mississippi's largest nighttime Christmas parade in downtown Meridian.

    Meridian Main Street Executive Director John McClure said this year's Merry Meridian events have been well attended. For Saturday's parade, spectators lined streets all along the parade route.

    "It's the biggest crowd I've ever seen for the parade," McClure said.

    A record number of people also showed up for Sunday's brunch at Merrehope, which was used during the Civil War as the headquarters of Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk, a former Episcopal bishop of Louisiana who became known as "The Fighting Bishop."

    "We have 60 people for the brunch today," Merrehope President Betty Lou Jones said. "In past years we have had between 20 to 30 people attend."

    Four generations of the Woodall family were among the attendees.

    "There are 13 of us," Felise Woodall said. "It's just a good way to get all of the family together to start off the Christmas season."

    Staff were busy in the home's kitchen Sunday morning preparing, among other things, shrimp and crab casserole, sausage casserole, sweet potatoes, green beans and bread pudding.

    Meridian residents Minnie Bryan, Virginia Hodges and Doodle Heblon were among those who attended.

    "It's just a beautiful home and they always have something new and exciting each year," Hodges said of the brunch.

    Money raised from the brunch will fund renovations to Merrehope and the adjacent F.W. Williams victorian home. Both are located in the 900 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Drive.

    Other Merry Meridian events scheduled this month are:

    • Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. —  Meridian Community College's Christmas Gala Chorus and Guitar Ensemble at the college's McCain Theater.

    • Dec. 6-8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. — The Singing Christmas Tree at Highland Baptist Church.

    • Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. — Meridian Symphony Orchestra’s Peppermint Pops Concert at the MSU Riley Center.

    • Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. — John Tesh Big Band Christmas at the MSU Riley Center.