The Innswood/Kirkwood Neighborhood captured the inaugural “Jolliest Neighborhood” award presented by the City of Hattiesburg.
The neighborhood, located to the south of Lincoln Road and at the intersection with 34th and 28th avenues, encompasses about 175 houses.
“The neighborhoods gave me a sense of love thy neighbor,” said Tonya Jordan, the city’s neighborhood coordinator. “They definitely showed and displayed that they are a community who talks and communicates with each other and that flowed throughout the neighborhoods.”
Jordan initiated the search for a neighborhood that exhibited happiness and cheerfulness.
Eight neighborhoods participated, including Parkhaven, Timberton, Kamper Avenues, Kensington Woods, Innswood/Kirkwood, Hattiesburg Historic, Historic North Main and The Oaks.
According to Jordan, a panel of judges spent about two and a half hours maneuvering the Hattiesburg Trolley through the neighborhoods.
A People’s Choice Award was also given and was voted on by Hattiesburg residents during a 24-hour period. More than 300 votes were cast and the award went to the Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood Association, where during the weekend of Dec. 14 provided a variety of activities during its annual Victorian Candlelit Christmas.
Third place in the “Jolliest Neighborhood” competition went to the Hattiesburg North Main Neighborhood, which the judges felt was heartfelt, touching, really cute.
Second place 2nd place went to the HHNA.
“Our community is not lacking in festive holiday activities,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “This is a great way to unite neighbors across the city, to dig deep for their inner Griswold. The lights and decorations give residents and visitors an activity that we hope will spark some Christmas joy for everyone.”
LeAnn Vance, who serves as communications officer for the Innswood/Kirkwood homeowner’s board, said the neighborhood holds an annual progressive dinner which started three years ago to get everyone in the holiday spirit.
“We also encouraged everyone to do a lot outside their house,” she said. “Elizabeth Gregg, our creator, suggested everyone who wanted to get the spiral Christmas trees, to make things a little jollier. Those were spread throughout the neighborhood.”
Vance said more than half of the approximately 175 houses in the neighboods participated.
“Some had lighting where others were more classic with wreaths, but then there were those who really stepped up with all the lights that turn and blowups. We have a lot of children in our neighborhood so it was nice for them also.”
Barker felt the turnout was great for the first year.
“A lot of work, investments to put out lights and displays,” said Barker. “I’m proud of the innovative and festive spirit so many are displaying across the city.”