Christmas parade to roll at night; big tree at plaza

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 22, 2004

[10/22/04]Downtown Vicksburg will look a little different this Christmas season, partly because decorating will center on the nighttime lighting of a giant Christmas tree.

The illumination of a 30-foot-tall tree, at River Stage Plaza on Washington and Crawford streets, will come on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 4, just after the city’s annual Christmas parade rolls at 5 p.m. For years, the parade has been a late-morning or early-afternoon event.

With the parade being in the evening, float builders will have another decorating option lighting the floats. Applications and information about the parade can be obtained at the Vicksburg Main Street office at 701 Clay St., or 634-4527.

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Although there will also be a lighted tree at City Hall, officials hope to make the community tree the one at River Stage Plaza.

The traditional Santa Claus and his sleigh and reindeer will again spend the holiday season on display on the Walnut Street side of City Hall.

Rosalie Theobald, executive director of the city’s Main Street Program, laid out the plans Thursday during the weekly Vicksburg Rotary Club meeting.

Another change residents will see downtown, Theobald said, is in decorations along Washington Street.

Green garlands and bows will replace the longtime candy-cane decorations that have hung on utility poles and signs each Christmas for years. The old decorations, she said, will remain in storage.

The changes are coming less than a year after the completion of the $2.6 million reconstruction of downtown Washington Street and the ongoing $5.6 million urban renewal project.

Theobald also said the Vicksburg Convention Center bought a 25-foot-by-30-foot blimp screen that will be used to show movies. The first use is planned at the center at noon Saturday, Oct. 30. The movie to be shown will be “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.”

“Bring the kids,” Theobald said, adding refreshments will be available.

She said the screen will be used by Main Street, the city and the convention center for showing movies at other venues, including the downtown Art Park under construction with a price tag of about $3.9 million.

In addition, the merchants in downtown will be competing for the second year in a window display contest, and the merchants will open the holiday season with an open house from 1 until 5 p.m. Nov. 28, the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

“After that merchants will have extended hours for the holiday season,” she said.