Parade begins flurry of Christmas activity

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2001

Susan Johnston will give candlelight tours of her home, the Harding Johnston House on Chambers Street. It is one of six antebellum homes participating Saturday.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[11/30/01]With Thanksgiving 2001 now a memory, this weekend is packed with Christmas events, including bands and floats in a downtown parade that has been growing year after year.

The Ernie Myers Memorial Christmas Parade Saturday morning is not the only event that will help folks get into the mood and spirit of Christmas. There are also Christmas parades in Port Gibson and Tallulah, a performance of The Nutcracker ballet and candlelight tours of homes decorated in the Victorian manner.

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Maj. Gen. Richard E. Coleman, commander of the 412th Engineer Command, will be the grand marshal for the parade with the theme All-American Christmas.

The parade will begin its roll down Washington Street at 11 a.m., after the nearly 75 participating marchers, bands and floats gather along Belmont Street at 9:30 a.m.

Coleman is a native of Nevada, Mo., and received his commission and his bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He received a master’s in ecology from Mississippi State University.

He retired in 1997 from his civilian job as a civil engineer and special assistant to the chief of the Ecological Research Division of the Environmental Laboratory of the Waterways Experiment Station. He is now an independent representative of Parker Brothers and Associates, a national insurance firm.

In the event of bad weather, those participating in the parade and those planning to attend should listen to radio station WBBV FM 101 for information. No rain date has been scheduled.

While people are in downtown Vicksburg for the Christmas parade, they will be only a few steps away from Jingle Bell Junction, sponsored by River City Business & Professional Women, at the Vicksburg Convention Center where they will find numerous vendors selling arts and crafts and gifts from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Port Gibson parade begins at 10 a.m. and will proceed north on Market Street from near the Old Depot Restaurant.

In Tallulah, the parade will begin at 3 p.m. near Tallulah Elementary School and proceed through the downtown area.

Pemberton Square mall has the student choir from Redwood Elementary School scheduled to sing at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Vicksburg Christmas Candlelight Tours will also be Saturday with two, three-house tour sessions planned, said Kilby Whitney of The Corners Bed and Breakfast Inn.

The first tour session is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and will include Cedar Grove, Annabelle and The Corners. The second session is from 6-8 p.m. and will include the Harding Johnston Home on Chambers Street, the Baer Home on Grove Street and Anchuca on First East Street.

Admission is $5 per house for adults and $3 per house for children.

Whitney said all the homes will feature Victorian style decorations illuminated by candlelight. Depending on the house, there will also be caroling, decoration making and refreshments.

After touring the decorated homes, people can round out their Saturday downtown by stopping by the Church of the Holy Trinity, Episcopal, for the Vicksburg Chamber Choir’s performance of Johannes Brahms “German Requiem” at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, Valerie Atwood’s students at the Vicksburg Dance Studio will present The Nutcracker at 2 p.m. in the Vicksburg High School Auditorium. Tickets are $6 and may be purchased at the studio or at the door.

Holiday activities extend into the following week.

The Mississippi Welcome Center on Washington Street will have its Christmas Openhouse from 2-4 p.m. Thursday. The Grace Notes, Bob and Darlene Roberts are scheduled to perform and Miss Hospitality Jalin Wood from Waynesboro will be on hand to sign autographs and help the Welcome Center staff serve refreshments.

The Vicksburg Art Association Christmas Party begins at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at the Firehouse Gallery. Admission is $20 per person in advance and $25 per person at the door. In addition, there will be a silent auction of art work, services and meals. For information call the Attic Gallery at 638-9221.

Holiday events will begin Dec. 8 at Pemberton Square with Breakfast with Santa at 8 a.m. at Piccadilly Cafeteria. Tickets are $2 per person and Santa and Rudolph will hand out treats to the children.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. there will be a free space jump in the mall along with a performance by the Calvary Baptist Church choir at 11 a.m. and a choir from Warren Central Junior High School at 2 p.m.

From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Dec. 8 there will be the re-enactment of the Balfour Christmas Ball that was interrupted by the arrival of Union troops during the Campaign for Vicksburg in December 1862 at the Balfour House on Crawford Street. Tickets are $30 per person and reservations are required by calling 638-7113.

At 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, the Old Court House MuseumEva W. Davis Memorial will present its annual Christmas program featuring singer Catherine May Brown and singers and guitarists Jimmy Watt and Don Nelson.

Call 636-0741 for reservations. There is no admission fee.

The Debra Franco School of Dance will present Mistletoe Magic at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Parkside Playhouse. Featured will be dancers from the Atlanta Ballet and the Natchez Ballet Academy.