Christmas activities planned for Saturday

By STAFF REPORTS,

Petal residents can look forward to a day full of happenings this weekend, as the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce is featuring three events Saturday for an entire day’s worth of Christmas-themed activities.

The day will kick off with the Christmas Market on Central, which will be held from 10 a.m.- 2p.m. near Grand Central Outiffters at 126 East Central Ave. The market will feature about 70 vendors, including food, holiday decorations, gift items, jewelry, soaps and candles.

East Central Avenue will be blocked off in that area during the market to provide an adequate amount of space for the event.

“We’ll need every bit of space we can have,” said Valerie Wilson, Executive Director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce. “People can park in the gymnasium parking lot at Petal Middle School and in front of the school. They can park in the Rite Aid parking lot too, because that’ll be empty, and then just walk over to the market area.”

Next up is the city’s annual Christmas Parade, which will begin at 4 p.m. and run down South Main Street from Dirt Cheap to Petal Civic Center. So far, the parade has about 50 entries, which are combination of floats, walking groups and other parade participants.

Patrick Bigbee has been named Grand Marshal of the parade, while Marlo Dorsey, Michael Marks and Dr. Heather Waters will serve as judges to pick winners from entries in the walking, vehicle and float divisions. The judges will pick a first, second and third place from each division.

Lineup for the parade begins at 2 p.m., and officials are asking for all floats to be in place by 2:30 p.m.

“Petal High School Showchoir and band will be (in the parade), and we’re going to be led off by the Youth Challenge from Camp Shelby; they’re going to be our drum corps and color guard,” Wilson said. 

The day will conclude with Celebration in the Park, scheduled for 5 p.m. at Hinton Park behind Petal Civic Center. Mayor Hal Marx will assist with the lighting of the Petal Christmas Tree, followed by the announcement of the parade award winners and the Petal Community Chorus.

The event also will feature the Petal High School Jazz Band, arts and craft vendors, photos with Santa Claus, Disney characters and food vendors.

Sherri Marengo will serve as Master of Ceremonies for Celebration in the Park.

“It’s a whole day of events,” Wilson said. “It’s a way to keep our community together and celebrate together and see our friends and family. It’s a great community event.

“We’re so proud of Petal, and we recognize we have a very special place to live. So this is one of the things that makes it special, where we can celebrate, and it’s very family-friendly and enjoyable. It just warms the heart.”