Christmas tree lighting kicks off holiday season in Meridian

Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

Residents turn out to enjoy the annual Christmas tree lighting in front of city hall Tuesday evening. Guests enjoyed music, dancing and a visit from Santa Claus during the event.

The Christmas season kicked off Tuesday in Meridian with the annual tree lighting ceremony on the city hall lawn.

More than 100 people attended the event, which featured dance performances by the Meridian Community College ballerinas and special holiday music by Daniel Houze. Nealy Gilmore and Belen Altman, the 2019 Miss Merry Meridian Pageant winners, were also recognized.

Christmas tree lighting kicks off holiday season in Meridian

Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

CJ Hinds, 6, begins to celebrate as he awaits the lighting of the city's Christmas tree in front of city hall Tuesday evening.

Christmas tree lighting kicks off holiday season in Meridian

Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star

Santa Claus passes out candy to the children during the city's annual Christmas tree lighting.

Festivities continue this week when the Christmas parade rolls through downtown Meridian at 5 p.m. on Saturday. This year’s theme is “Parade of Toys.”

Christmas tree lighting kicks off holiday season in Meridian

The route of the Meridian Christmas parade. 

Craig Wilkes, with the city's community development department, estimated there will be 3,000 to 5,000 people lining the parade route.

“We have a diverse group of participants, this is truly a generational event,” said Wilkes. “We have 40 vendors, dance groups, walking groups, trucks and Christmas parade floats. Come out and have a good time.”

Saturday is expected to be mostly cloudy, with a high of 63 degrees and a low of 46.  

Christmas parades in East Mississippi and West Alabama

Thursday: Newton - 6 p.m.; Butler, Ala. - 6 p.m.

Friday: Decatur - 6 p.m.

Saturday: Meridian - 5 p.m.; Union - 6 p.m.; Enterprise - 6 p.m.

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