Tree lighting helps ring in the season

Published 11:02 pm Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Christmas season got into full swing in Vicksburg Saturday with a visit from jolly old St. Nick himself.

The 12th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at the Outlets at Vicksburg had horse and carriage rides, festive music and Santa Claus arrived just in time to light the massive tree located in the parking lot.

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Kristen Davidson, 5, went on a carriage ride with family and friends. She even got to pet the horse after the loop around the parking lot. At first Davidson wasn’t sure if she wanted to talk to Santa or not, but in the end she decided she’d tell him she wanted some toys.

“It was fun,” she said.

The live show kicked off at 5 p.m. with performances by the Warrenton Elementary Honor Choir singing “Mistletoe” and “O Christmas Tree,” and Dance from the Heart students danced to “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

Johnniviah Barnes, 7, said she attended the tree lighting to support her family.

“My cousin is singing,” she said.

At first she didn’t know Santa was coming, but when she found out she decided she would tell him what she wanted for a Christmas.

“I want a hoverboard and a four wheeler,” Barnes said.

“I just want a Barbie house,” her cousin Destinee Cosby, 4, said. “Oh, and a selfie stick.”

Representatives from the United Way of West Central Mississippi and Good Shepherd Community Center were on hand to support the community and distribute information on their organizations.

An ornament making station was setup by the United Way for children to get crafty, and a hot chocolate station was nearby.

“Christmas is my favorite holiday,” Molly Ming, 5, said was the reason she wanted to attend the tree lighting, and she hoped to get to see Santa.

Several pageant winners were on hand to bring the holiday spirit through song. Miss Vicksburg Anne Elizabeth Buys, Miss Warren County Colby Brumfield, Miss Vicksburg’s Outstanding Teen Holly Brand and Miss Pride of the South’s Outstanding Teen Julieanna Jackson all sang their favorite Christmas selections as the children waited for Santa to arrive.

Georgia Lee Couch, 3, came out to the Outlets for one reason.

“(To) see Santa,” she said. “I want horses and a barn and a home for the horses.”

Miss Vicksburg also took on emcee duties along with Miss North Central Mississippi Emily Tingle and Madeline Lee.

“I came to see the Christmas tree,” Vivian Grace McComas, 4 and 1/2, said, adding she thought the tree would look pretty. She planned on telling Santa about the gifts she wanted for Christmas like a toy kitty cat that will hiss, snuggle and play with her, and she also had her eye on a doll she could put makeup on.

As the clock ticked closer to 6 p.m., more children and parents arrived at the tree to wait for the majestic color to burst from its lightbulbs. Santa arrived with elves and Mrs. Claus to talk to the children as “snow” began to fall from above.