East Mississippi gears up for holiday season

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The annual Christmas parade rolls into Meridian at 5 p.m. on Dec. 7.

Meridian will kickoff its holiday season on Tuesday, Dec. 3 with the annual City of Meridian Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Mayor Percy Bland will host the festivities at 5:30 p.m. on City Hall Lawn.

The event is a holiday tradition of music, celebration and family fun. The 34-foot Christmas Tree features energy-efficient LED lights, shiny ornaments, and orchestrated music playing holiday songs.

There will be special holiday music featuring Daniel Houze. Special dance performances will be led by the Meridian Community College ballerinas and other local dance groups. The 2019 Miss Merry Meridian Pageant Winners, Nealy Gilmore and Belen Altman, will also be recognized.

Public parking is available in the Arts District Parking Garage located on 24th Avenue. For more information, please visit www.meridianms.org.

In case of rain, the event will move inside to the auditorium located on third floor of City Hall.

Festivities continue when the Christmas parade rolls into town at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. This year’s theme is “Parade of Toys.”

Local businesses, organizations, churches and school groups are invited to participate in one of the area’s largest nighttime Christmas parades. 

Festivities to follow in the coming weeks include:

• 51st Annual Merrehope Trees of Christmas

The theme for this year's event, the 51st annual trees of Christmas, is “Sing a Song of Christmas."

The home will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday through Dec. 28 and from 1-5 p.m on Dec. 15, 22 and 29. Merrehope is located at 905 Martin Luther Drive. For more information, call 601-483-8439.

• Lazy Acres in Lights

Through Christmas Eve at Lazy Acres Plantation, Chunky.

Visitors can drive through a light display from the comfort of their own vehicle. The farm is covered with lights and holiday scenes. Children can dance with costumed characters at Dancer’s Disco Deck, create something special with the elves in Santa’s Workshop, play with a life-size version of the Simon game and engage in other activities. Santa will be at Santa’s Barn on Friday and Saturday nights.

Hours are 6-9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Admission is $20 per car, $30 for a small passenger van. Buses are not allowed.

From 6-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, the light display can be experienced from the plantation’s wagons. Admission is $10 per person; children 2 and under admitted free. For more information, visit www.lazy-acres.com or call 833-327-6386 (FARMFUN).

• “Elf” The Musical at Meridian Little Theatre

Based on the beloved holiday film, this hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity. This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. Dec. 5-10, 7 p.m. www.meridianlittletheatre.com or 601-482-6371.

• Meridian Symphony Orchestra Peppermint Pops

Saturday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m. MSU Riley Center.

Emmy Award winner and Billboard #1 Recording Artists, The Texas Tenors, sleigh ride into town straight from “America’s Got Talent.”

From seasonal favorites like “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World” to crowd pleaser The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” and original hit “Bootdaddy,” JC Marcus, and John, bring a unique blend of music to the stage.

• Santa’s Christmas Factory

From 4-8 p.m. Dec. 10-21, Soule’ Steam Works.

A pure delight for kids of all ages. Bring your family for a true Christmas wonderland. The museum will be transformed into a Frozen Factory complete with falling snowflakes. There is even a train for the little ones. 601-693-9905.

• Celtic Woman - The Best of Christmas Tour

Sunday, Dec. 15, 6 p.m. at the MSU Riley Center. Multi-platinum international music sensation Celtic Woman celebrates the holiday season with its eighth annual “Symphony Tour.”

• Meridian Museum of Art Holiday Gala

Saturday, Dec. 14, from 6-8 p.m. at the Meridian Museum of Art.

Christmas Parades in East Mississippi and West Alabama

Dec. 2: Quitman - 6 p.m.;  Philadelphia - 6 p.m. on Dec. 2

Dec. 5: Newton - 6 p.m.; Butler, Ala. - 6 p.m.

Dec. 6: Decatur - 6 p.m. 

Dec. 7: Meridian - 5 p.m.; Union - 6 p.m.; Enterprise - 6 p.m.; 

“Christmas on the River” is set for Saturday, Dec. 7. in Demopolis. 

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