By Tricia Nelson
Chautauqua Park has been closed since the first week of November as participants install and decorate a spot in anticipation for Chautauqua Christmas. The annual event has become a tradition for many families and a tourist destination. Visitors come from miles to see the beautiful and creative displays.
The park will open as always on Thanksgiving evening at dusk and close at 9:00 p.m. It will be open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through December 25. The entrance fee remains at $3 per vehicle.
Parks and Recreation Director, Lacey Henderson, has worked hard to make the park look better than ever. The large synchronized Christmas tree made its first appearance last year and was a huge success. Using the park’s own displays, it is synchronized with music. Copiah Medical sponsored the purchase of the large, 20 foot tree that is installed on the flagpole. It has pre-sequenced songs and light effects. The tree adds one more element to Chautauqua Christmas.
The Chautauqua Garden Club decorated the flowerbed at the entrance to the park, the gate, and the Visitors Center. The Junior Auxiliary of Crystal Springs and Crown Club decorated the ticket booth. The Mayor’s Youth Council contributed new coroplast trees and Crystal Springs Parks and Recreation decorated the roundhouse with the “Peace on Earth” theme, complete with flags from across the world.
December 13, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. there will be a scavenger hunt at Chautauqua Park for Chautauqua Lights Family Night. To compete, bring a pen and camera or a cell phone. Santa will be on-hand for pictures while visitors enjoy holiday cookies.
Another event will take place December 20 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Henderson wants everyone to come mingle through the wonderland of lights while sipping hot cocoa, have a picture made with Santa, and sneak a kiss under the mistletoe with that special someone.
Other events held in addition include the Christmas Parade on Friday, December 6 at 7:00 and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” on Friday, December 13, from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. in Railroad Park. This festival will feature music, activities for children, Mississippi vendors, delicious food, hot chocolate, and a visit from Santa.
The musical lineup includes Rebecca Teasley with Taylor Ratliff, Betsy Davis, Lexy McDonnell, Crucified (First Baptist Church band) and Reese Walker. This event will be held in conjunction with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree sponsored by the city and parks and recreation.
Get into the spirit by attending these holiday events. There are plenty of options to satisfy the Christmas itch. Enjoy the sights and sounds the city has to offer this holiday season.
By Tricia Nelson