Moss Point will welcome in the holiday season with Christmas by the River from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.
The annual event kicks off with Breakfast with Santa provided by Waffle House at 10 a.m. The breakfast is free for children and $5 per adult and includes a free photo with Santa.
Christmas by the River Organizer Becky Jolly Wood said she expects there to be about 300 children at the breakfast and that it’s a great way to start the day-long celebration.
“We try to make it special, we really do,” Jolly Wood said. “It’s something fun for the children.”
At 3 p.m., a land parade will begin at the Southgate Shopping Center. Line up will be at 1:30 p.m. Jolly Wood said it’s an event anyone can be part of – they can decorate their vehicles and join in the line. In addition, Moss Point native Tony Sipp, a Major League Baseball World Series Champion, will be the land parade’s grand marshal.
Throughout the day, live music will be playing and participants can walk through vendors selling food, drinks and other items.
“You’ll see people walking around and talking to everyone,” Jolly Wood said. “You can see everyone in the community.”
Additional activities will happen in the evening, starting with the tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at the Pallet Mill. From there, one of the main attractions, the lighted boat parade, will start at 6:15 p.m. at the riverfront.
Jolly Wood said that boat parade participants will be judged, and that the only rule is that they are not allowed to include a live Santa – the last boat in the parade will be reserved for him. There will be three children judges and four or five adult judges, including Tony Sipp, to determine the winners who will receive trophies and gift cards.
This year, there will be a special trophy in the honor of Moss Point resident, business owner and community supporter Wendy McKinney, who passed away earlier this year.
“We are all still grieving,” Jolly Wood said. “She was someone who, if you needed anything, all you needed to do was tell her. We wanted to do something special to remember her.”
After the winners are awarded, Santa will pass out candy and other small gifts for the children. It’s another chance for families to get a free photo of their children with Santa. During this time, the final selection of names chosen to be included in the Moss Point Walk of Fame will also be announced.
To finish out the night, a fireworks show will follow the boat parade.
Jolly Wood said that when it comes down to it, she hopes the event is fun for all families, as they work hard to make it special – especially for the children.
“There’s not one particularly special part of the day,” she said. “I think it’s just about seeing the happiness on all of the children’s faces.”