Busiest weekend of the holiday season brings lights, Santa and boat parades

·15 min read

South Mississippi is packed with new and traditional ways to celebrate Christmas this year.

Harbor Lights Winter Festival returns to fill Jones Park in Gulfport with new lights that replaced the ones destroyed by Hurricane Zeta. Families can walk among the lights and enjoy the rides, or ride the train or trolley.

New this year is a Silent Light Festival at Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs. LED lights will project Anderson’s art on the building and create a wonderland. The display is free in downtown Ocean Springs, where the town is celebrating with a tree lighting ceremony, parade and other festivities.

Christmas trees surrounded by brilliant poinsettias decorate the atrium of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, making it a favorite spot for capturing colorful family photos. The Beau Rivage will be hosting Breakfast with Santa, The Nutcracker and the Rockette-style dancers in “Christmas in the Air,” for a show that brings the dazzle of New York City to the Coast.

A Chanukah Carnival, boat parades, concerts and a Christmas ghost walk and are all on this year’s calendar of events:


Starting Thanksgiving DayA&W Christmas Tree Farm, 13001 Forts Lake Road, Moss Point. Choose and Cut. Open for special visits and photos. 251-751-2596

Nov. 26-Dec. 31Harbor Lights Winter Festival at Jones Park in Gulfport is back with new lights, new rides and live entertainment. Walk among the lights or take the free trolley. Santa will be in Santa’s Village from 6– 10 p.m. nightly except Christmas Day. $15 general admission, $5 for ages 5-12, free for ages 4 and under. Rides are additional $3-$6. Gulfport Locals Night with $5 entry on Dec. 1, 8 and 15. Coast Transit Authority will provide free parking in the CTA garage and free shuttle service to the park.

A colorful Christmas is delivered with 1 million lights at the Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival at Jones Park in Gulfport through New Year’s Eve.
A colorful Christmas is delivered with 1 million lights at the Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival at Jones Park in Gulfport through New Year’s Eve.

Nov. 26-Dec. 3135 Days of Christmas & Trains at Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum, 522 Pass Road, Gulfport. One of the largest Lego railroad displays in Mississippi, over 80 model train layouts, interactive layouts, multiple riding trains. 5-9 p.m. Free; donations of $5 for adults and $2 for children are requested.

Nov. 29-Jan 2Ice skating at the Coast Coliseum, Biloxi. Sessions 6-7:30 p.m. and 8:30-10 p.m. Admission is $13 including skate rental. Link to the schedule.

Dec. 2, 7, 10, 14Winter Magic at Biloxi High School. 1845 Tribe Drive. Family friendly events from 7-9 p.m. Pictures with Santa, music and goodies. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

Through Dec. 5OS Elks Lodge Craft Show, 2501 Beachview Blvd., Ocean Springs. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Christmas craft show and sale with many handcrafted goods and food available. Vendors setup is $25 per booth. Admission is free.

Dec. 5-30Krampus Style Creepy Christmas Boat Cruise, 6160 Central Ave., Bay Saint Louis. Cruises at 2, 3:30, 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m. Fractured fairy tale of Santa and The Rougarou out on the Bayou. Hour-long ride with hot chocolate, beer or soft drink, and candy cane included. Ages 9 and up suggested with parent consent. $79 per person.

Dec. 9-17Light Festival (Silent Light), 510 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs. The grounds of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art become an illuminated wonderland inspired by nature and the winter solstice, featuring Anderson-inspired light installations, projections and 3-D sculpture. Free and on view nightly

Dec. 9-31 Christmas Ghost and Cemetery Walk. Historical ghost walk featuring real life tragic events, unrestful spirits both good and evil, and tales of the past while visiting old cemeteries, and historical landmarks. Thursday through Sunday at 8 and 10 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Dec. 12-26Christmas in the Air at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi. Broadway-style holiday spectacular with classic and modern holiday song. Synchronized, high-kicking, Rockette-style dancers, world-class singers, veteran TV and film actors. Beautiful costumes and scenic elements. A fresh snowfall at each 75-minute show at 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 12, 14-17, Dec. 19-26 Tickets start at $12.95.

Christmas decor at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi makes it a favorite backdrop for family holiday photos. The Beau Rivage will host a month of special events in December.
Christmas decor at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi makes it a favorite backdrop for family holiday photos. The Beau Rivage will host a month of special events in December.


Dec. 1 — Holiday Arts and Craft Fair at 9 a.m. at St. Martin Community Center, 15008 Lemoyne Blvd., Biloxi. Arts, crafts, produce, local honey. Lunch available. Drop off location for he Santa Wears A Badge campaign for those who want to donate a new toy.

Dec. 2Nativity Walk on Main Street in Old Town Bay St. Luis. Luminaries and soft Christmas music for the walk featuring individual Nativity displays. 5-7 p.m. Free

Dec. 2Lighting of the Biloxi Lighthouse. Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich and Santa will turn on the Lighthouse Christmas lights at 5:30 p.m., south of the Biloxi Visitors Center, 1050 Beach Blvd. Refreshments served.

Dec. 2Holiday Sweater Soiree, presented by Coast Young Professionals. 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Magnolia House, inside Harrah’s Gulf Coast, 280 Beach Blvd., Biloxi. $10 for current CYP members, $15 general admission.

Dec. 2Tree Lighting with Santa at The Mary C, Government Street, Ocean Springs. 6-8 p.m. Free

Dec. 3Community Market at East Central Community Center, 4300 Mississippi 614 in Hurley from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Christmas gifts and goodies, handmade crafts, produce, paintings, pottery. Food Trucks and other vendors invited to participate. To reserve a space for $10, contact Kathy Orlowski at 228-217-4189 or email Kathy_Orlowski@co.jackson.ms.us.

Dec. 3Festival of Lights at Perkinston Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College 4-8:30 p.m. Silent auction, Santa parade, art shows, pictures with Santa and holiday characters, petting zoo, snow zone, music and dance, train rides, games and crafts, and Ferris wheel rides. The rides and games are free. Food booths available.

Dec. 3 ”Whoville” Kids Street Christmas at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, 246 Dolan Ave., Gulfport. Stroll the grounds to enjoy Christmas lights. Visit with Santa, make ornaments, hot chocolate and cookies, caroling by WINGS Performing Arts. 5:30-7 p.m. Price included with museum admission.

Dec. 3Downtown for the Holidays in Pascagoula. Tree lighting at 5:30 p.m., cookie decorating 5:30-7:30 p.m., Goula Grinch and Santa’s sleigh 5:30-9 p.m. Ride through downtown in a Radio Flyer. Musical, dance, and theatrical performances on the stage at Delmas Avenue and Magnolia Street. Parade at 7:30 p.m. followed by fireworks. Bring unwrapped toy to donate to the Jeune Esprit toy drive for children in Pascagoula.

Dec. 3 Christmas in the Pass, U.S. 90 and Flietas Avenue, Pass Christian. Santa arrives and lights the tree at the gazebo in War Memorial Park at 6 p.m., followed by a Christmas parade to the pavilion on Second Street and Davis Avenue. Music, food, llamas, children’s activities, petting zoo, photo stations along Davis Avenue from 5:30-8 p.m. Fireworks at 8 p.m.

Dec. 3 Children’s Christmas Parade as part of Christmas on the Water, downtown Biloxi. Kids can walk or ride on a hay wagon from Gruich Community Center, 591 Howard Ave., to Biloxi Town Green for refreshments and lighting of the green.

Dec. 3Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus at 7 p.m. at Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 870 Howard Ave., Biloxi

Dec. 3-4Holiday Open House in Ocean Springs, with shops, restaurants and galleries offering holiday specials, refreshments music, Santa sightings in downtown Ocean Springs. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Dec. 3-4Christmas Bazaar at the Bay Waveland Yacht Club, Bay St. Louis. Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Hourly door prizes. Free but donation to Hancock County Food Pantry is welcome.

Dec. 4Breakfast with Santa at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic School, 4321 Espy Ave., Pass Christian. Breakfast, Santa arrives at 7:30 a.m., petting zoo.

Dec. 4Christmas Chili Cookoff and Holiday Marketplace at Pascagoula River Audubon Center, Moss Point. 11 a.m.

Dec. 4Snowflakes and Sugarplums Parade and Festival at Bay St. Louis. The parade starts at 11 a.m. on Blaize Avenue to Toulme Street., to Main Street, to Beach Boulevard., to Union St. and ends at the Depot District with the annual festival from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free

Dec. 4 The Nutcracker holiday ballet presented at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi. Performances in the theater at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets start at $19.95.

Dec. 4 Christmas by the River Boat Parade in Moss Point begins at 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 4Sea Santa Sail-A-Bration, a waterless boat parade, starts at 5:45 p.m. at the Long Beach High School and ends at the Town Green. Craft station, s’mores station, photos with Santa.

Dec. 4Sugarplum Saturday Parade in downtown Gulfport. Starts at 6 p.m. at intersection of 24th Avenue and 17th Street.

Dec. 4Christmas on the Water Boat Parade along the Biloxi Channel between the Beau Rivage and Golden Nugget casinos. 6 p.m. Free

Dec. 4Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus at 7 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 5005 Lawson Ave., Gulfport.

Dec. 4-5The Nutcracker, presented by Mississippi Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre at the Beau Rivage Theatre, Biloxi. Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $19.95.

Dec. 5Brunch With Santa at BR Prime at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Biloxi. 9 and 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Commemorative photo, strolling Christmas characters, made-to-order eggs, fresh seafood, extravagant desserts, bottomless bloody Mary’s, mimosas, and poinsettias. Reservations are required: $65 for adults and Children Ages 7+$45 for ages 3-6, Free for ages 2 and under.

Santa and friends entertain during the Beau Rivage’s ‘Christmas Wonderland.’
Santa and friends entertain during the Beau Rivage’s ‘Christmas Wonderland.’

Dec. 5Santa Brunch at Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar & Restaurant, 1775 Beach Blvd., Biloxi. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dine with Santa, grab a photo, and tell him your Christmas list. Reservations are encouraged at 228-207-4369

Dec. 5Discover Christmas Parade in Ocean Springs at 2 p.m. Interactive parade, with elves and the Grinch. Bring a new, unwrapped gift for the parade toy drive. Parade begins at Front Beach, travels east on Porter to Washington and Government streets and ends near the Mary C.

Dec. 5Christmas Open House at Charnley-Norwood House, 509 East Beach Dr., Ocean Springs. 2-4 p.m. Free

Dec. 5Chanukah Carnival presented by Congregation Beth Israel at 12277 Three Rivers Road, Gulfport. Bounce house obstacle course, face painting, carnival games, cotton candy, popcorn, cupcake walk, prize store, Chanukah pop-up shop, Cash Raffle, Latke meal. 3:30-5 p.m. with lighting of largest Menorah in Mississippi at 5 p.m. $25 kid bracelet and meal, $18 meal ticket, $5 raffle ticket

Dec. 5Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 12290 Depew Ave., Gulfport

Dec. 7-11Holiday Open House at the promenade of shops at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino Biloxi. Local artists and exclusive trunk shows. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. each day.

Dec. 8Open House and Christmas Concert at The Pascagoula Public Library, 3214 Pascagoula St. Music and celebrations from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Colmer Middle School Choir at 10 a.m., JGRLS Singers at noon, reception for the new library system director and branch manager at 1 p.m., Great Speckled Birds with Don Smith at 3 p.m. Refreshments.

Dec. 9Santa Calling. Kids age 10 and younger get a direct line to Santa from 5:30-7:30 p.m., thanks to Biloxi Parks & Recreation. Applications due Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. at biloxi.ms.us.Santa

Dec. 9Elves in the Park at McLeod Park in Kiln. Free digital picture with Santa, cookies and hot chocolate and the lighting of the Christmas tree. 6-8 p.m. with Christmas play at 7 p.m. Free

Dec. 9-12“Pearls & Pelicans” Silent Auction for Walter Anderson Museum of Art’s 30th anniversary. Items range from experiences and trips to art, pearls and jewelry. Bid in person or online starting 6 p.m. Dec. 9 to 10 p.m. Dec. 12. Auction on view during museum hours at 510 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs.

Dec. 10Craft Beer & Holiday Cheer at Mississippi Aquarium, U.S. 90, Gulfport. Tasting stations by top breweries throughout the aquarium. Each ticket includes unlimited beer tastings. Food available for purchase. Music. 6-9 p.m.

Dec. 10Movies Under the Oaks at Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, U.S. 90, Biloxi. Double Feature of Santa vs. The Devil and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Snacks and beverages for sale. Picnic blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged. 6:30-11:30 p.m.

Dec. 10-12International Christmas Pastry Sale at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 255 Beauvoir Road, Biloxi. Friday Noon-6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.,Sunday 1-4 p.m. Free admission. Details: 228-388-6139

Dec. 11Christmas Open House at Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum, 115 First St, Biloxi. Local art vendors, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, cookies and hot cocoa. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission

Dec. 11Frozen Tea Party at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, 246 Dolan Ave., Gulfport. Meet and greet with Elsa and Anna and enjoy a craft. Tea and snacks provided. Prince and Princess costumes are encouraged. 11 a.m.-noon. $18 per person (children must be accompanied by a paid adult).

Dec. 11Ohr Kids Holiday Craft at Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, U.S. 90, Biloxi. Kids can make a Christmas gator ornament, countdown chains, and gator and crawfish Stockings. $5 per child. 1-3 p.m.

Dec. 11Woolmarket Christmas Parade at 2 p.m begins on Shortcut Road at Woolmarket Road, ends at Woolmarket Elementary School. See Santa and decorate the Christmas tree at Woolmarket Elementary gym. Hot Chocolate and cookies provided.

Dec. 11Bay St. Louis Harbor Lighting with decorated boats. 4:30 p.m.

Dec. 11Christmas on the Bayou starts at 6 p.m. on Barnard Bayou, Gulfport. Free

Dec. 11Faery Ball Rock N Roll Christmas Party at D’Iberville Civic Center, 10395 Automall Parkway, D’Iberville. Benefit for CASA of Harrison and Stone Counties. onations of New Unwrapped Toys (please no stuffed toys) and bid on silent auction goodies at this annual costume party live music event.7-11 p.m., with VIP reception from 6-7 p.m. $42 per person, VIP $60.

Dec. 11 Brandon Bennett — An Elvis My Way Christmas at 8 p.m.at Hard Rock Casino Biloxi. Tickets start at $14.

Dec. 11-12Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon. Margaritaville 5K Saturday at 8 a.m. Half and full marathon Sunday along the beach in Harrison County.

Dec. 12Cocoa and cupcakes with Santa and his penguin friends at Mississippi Aquarium, Gulfport. Make holiday crafts. $13.50-$15.50 plus admission. 9-11 a.m.

Dec. 12Children’s Fleur De Lis Christmas Social at Mary Mahoney’s, Rue Magnolia, Biloxi. Presented by Gulf Coast Carnival Association. Photos with Santa and reigning 2020 Mardi Gras King and Queen from 1-2 p.m. $25 per person, $100 per family

Dec. 12Gingerbread House Family Decorating Workshop at Lynn Meadows Discovery Center, 246 Dolan Ave., Gulfport. Decorate a gingerbread house without all of the mess. They provide the gingerbread house, frosting and edible decorations. Hot cocoa, cookies, holiday music, Santa and Mrs. Claus. 2-3:30 p.m. $35 per family

Dec. 12Dashing Thru the Sand at Shaggy’s restaurants at Biloxi (2:30-3:30 p.m.), Gulfport (4-5 p.m.) and Pass Christian (5:30-6:30 p.m.). Pictures with Santa, crafts, games, food. Free. Bring an unwrapped present with you to be delivered to Canopy Children Solutions, an organization that help Mississippi children thrive and families overcome extraordinary challenges.

Dec. 12Kids’ Christmas Celebration at Lazy Gator Sports Bar and Steamer, 3410 Yacht Club Circle, Diamondhead. Lazy Gator Sports Bar and Steamer. $5 per kid includes popcorn, hot chocolate, arts and crafts, Christmas movies, pictures with Santa. 4:30-7 p.m.

Dec. 16Caregiver Christmas Party, 6-9 p.m. at Mississippi Coast Model Railroad Museum, 522 Pass Road, Gulfport. Santa and Christmas fun. Free to all caregivers.

Dec. 17Special Needs Christmas Dance, 6-9 p.m. at Donal Snyder Community Center, 2520 Pass Road, Biloxi. All ages with physical and mental disabilities are invited. Food and door prizes. Admission is one unwrapped gift valued no more than $10 for Asgard Motorcycle Club to distribute.

Dec. 17Silent Disco & Light Fest, featuring experiences,one-of-a-kind projections of Walter Anderson art animated and digitally-mapped (by Colin McQuilkin Design) onto the facade of the Ocean Springs Community Center. A 6 p.m. performance by singer-songwriter Cary Hudson is followed by a Silent Disco with DJ Logic and DJ Zapot, who send music directly to guests’ personal LED-equipped wireless headphones. Admission is free. Headphones can be reserved for $10. 6-11 p.m.

Dec. 18Christmas in Camp at Beauvoir, The Jefferson Davis Home & Presidential Library, Biloxi. Nightmare before Christmas recreates an 1860s Christmas in Camp, when soldiers in gray and blue will come together around the campfire to share the Christmas spirit. Face painting, glow in the dark candy hunt. 6-9 p.m. $5 admission Beauvoir also will hosting a Holiday Social in the Presidential Library and the house will be open for tours.

Dec. 18Christmas Parade in Biloxi Ward 2. Parade begins at 2 p.m. at Division and Lee streets, travels west on Division and ends at John Henry Beck Park, 671 Division St. Visit with Santa, decorate the Christmas tree, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies.

Dec. 18-19Holiday Open House at Biloxi Visitors Center. Dozens of artists and crafters will sell their wares for last-minute Christmas shoppers. Santa, refreshments, children’s activities, door prizes. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Dec. 27-31Camp Aqua Winter Camp: Discovering the Deep. Hands-on experiments, take-home crafts, animal encounters. 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

This list will be updated. Send additional holiday events to mynews@sunherald.com.

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