County has the season wrapped in red and green

By BUSTER WOLFE,

Lamar County gets into the Christmas swing of things when the City of Purvis parade steps off at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.

The Purvis Public Library will have an open house from 5-7 p.m. along with book signings. Local authors Max Windham, author of his first Western, "One Who Knows Horses," and Ricky Nobile, author and cartoonist, will be on hand autographing copies of their new books.

The Friends of Purvis Public Library will be selling hot chocolate during the Christmas Parade.

The Sumrall Olde Towne Christmas Festival begins on Friday night with a live nativity scene surrounded by carolers from 6-8 p.m. A tour through historic downtown Sumrall’s businesses is from 5-7 p.m.

From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, the festive Christmas block party will fill the downtown streets with music, vendors and food in preparation for the 2 p.m. parade and Santa.

The annual Hattiesburg Jaycees Christmas Parade starts off holiday events in the Hub City at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30. The parade begins at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and will finish at Town Square Park.

While the parade is in motion, the Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera’s cast from “White Christmas” will perform at 6:20 p.m. At 6:50 p.m., the Mount Olive Baptist Church Choir will sing.

In addition to all festivities, the Christmas tree lighting at 7:15 p.m. at Town Square Park will also serve as a toy drop off. All toys donated will be split among Hattiesburg Police, Hattiesburg Fire and Oseola McCarty’s Youth Development Center. All three organizations work to provide more to those who have less during the holiday season.

At 7:25 p.m., Art Makes Art, Inc. will perform; the group was formed by the creators of Hattiesburlesque. The announcement of Window Decorating Contest Award winners will follow at 7:45 p.m.

A special “Santa Cares” program will be held from 9-11 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Turtle Creek Mall by Cherry Hill Programs for special-needs children to have their photo taken with Santa. Santa is located at Center Court near Dillard's.

Cherry Hill Programs provides sensory-friendly Santa Photo Experiences in partnership with Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the cause, prevention, treatment and cure for autism.

The Christmas season continues in downtown Hattiesburg Dec. 9-10 when the Hattiesburg Downtown Association, in partnership with Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood, the City of Hattiesburg and VisitHattiesburg, is hosts an “Olde Tyme Christmas.” Local residents and visitors are invited downtown to attend the weekend of events.

More than 18,000 luminaries will light the sidewalks throughout the Historic Neighborhood and Downtown both days.

Carriage rides will circle through the neighborhood leaving the Walthall (600 Rebecca Ave.) starting at 5 p.m. and continuing until 9 p.m. Each will take 15-20 minutes. Tickets for the carriage rides will be $10 for adults, $5 for children under 12 and will be sold only at the Walthall both days.

The Holiday Tour of Homes will feature historic homes and the Masonic Lodge. The Tour of Homes will run Saturday and Sunday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets will be available at the Walthall.

Bay Street Presbyterian Church (202 Short Bay St.), which is the oldest surviving church structure in the city, will host an “Old Fashioned Carol Sing” with the pipe organ on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m. carol singing on the front porch.

"Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All" holiday window displays will be seen throughout downtown.

On Saturday, Dec. 9, Court Street United Methodist Church (609 Southern Ave.) presents the Victorian Christmas Café from 5:30-7 p.m. Tickets are $5 per plate, $20 for family of five. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be in the chapel from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and there will be a Live Manger Scene Petting Zoo.

Sacred Heart Church is hosting Christmas Carolers on the Steps from 6-7 p.m. The "Brew HoHo Celebration" kicks off at the Historic Saenger Theater at 9 p.m. This ticketed event benefits the Hub City Players.

Jingle Jam: Music in the Park is at Town Square Park from 5-9 p.m. And Front Street Holiday Market is from 5-8:30 p.m.

Also still in the holiday spirit in Hattiesburg is the 10th annual “Deck the Halls” at Ashley HomeStore, to benefit Homes of Hope for Children that continues through Dec. 20. The Oak Grove Primary School and Longleaf Elementary first-graders kicked off their annual canned food drive for Homes of Hope for Children – a program worked in conjunction with Ashley HomeStore, located at 6143 U.S. Hwy. 98 W., Ste. 110.

The students’ ornaments will be on display through Wednesday, Dec. 20, and the final tally for canned goods will also be conducted on that day.