An official tree lighting Monday, Nov. 28 will begin the countdown to Christmas in downtown Columbus. The annual event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the east end of the Old Highway 82 pedestrian bridge at the Riverwalk begins with caroling and a sing-along with the Columbus Choral Society. Columbus Mayor Robert Smith will “flip the switch” at approximately 6:15 p.m., illuminating one of the stately magnolia trees at the site.
“There may even be ‘snow’ as the lights come on,” said Main Street Columbus Executive Director Barbara Bigelow. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served, and children can make crafts to take home.
“Be sure to bring your camera for holiday pictures with Santa and Miz Claus,” said Bigelow. “Plus, this year a professional photographer will also be on hand to help capture those memories. This beautiful evening will give kids, both young and old, a wonderful, joyous time together, a night of family fun.”
The tree lighting is sponsored by Colin Krieger, RE/MAX Partners Starkville-Columbus, Main Street Columbus, Visit Columbus and Dex Imaging.
“Lucky 13” Wassail Fest
Twenty participating downtown merchants will compete for bragging rights for best holiday brew at the 13th annual Wassail Fest from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2.
Music in the streets combines with wassail tasting, in-store demonstrations and drawings for door prizes to create a festive atmosphere. In Leadership Plaza, at Fifth Street South and College Street, look for the New Hope Show Choir performing throughout the evening. Sweet Adeline, a local quartet, will roam downtown singing Christmas numbers.
Wassail-makers will battle for the coveted People’s Choice Award, voted on by shoppers. Wassail means “to your health” and is a mixture of juices and spices with origins that date as far back as Robin Hood and his merry men, said Bigelow.
“Many of our downtown merchants will go to great lengths to prepare their special wassail to serve their guests,” she noted.
An addition to the fest this year will be Mississippi University for Women’s culinary arts CHEW Trailer. Set up next to WCBI, the CHEW crew will serve wassail, although they will not be in the merchants’ competition.
“Wassail Fest is an event that the downtown merchants and their customers look forward to each year,”said Bigelow. “It is a great time to come downtown, do some Christmas shopping, sample delicious wassail, be a part of selecting the 2016 Wassail Meister, dine in one of our great downtown restaurants and just enjoy the season.”
The director expressed appreciation for event sponsors: The W, Dex Imaging, Zachary’s and Visit Columbus.
Columbus parade, art contest
The Columbus Christmas parade at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5 celebrates the season with a procession of more than 60 entries interpreting the theme “Merry Christmas, Columbus!” Grand Marshal Col. Douglas Gosney, commander, 14th Flying Training Wing, Columbus Air Force Base, will lead off the parade of floats, bands, dancers, walking groups and Santa himself up Main Street and College Street. Competitive and non-competitive categories are offered for entrants. A First United Methodist Church youth group will serve hot chocolate on Main Street.
“And we are again hosting the Holiday Art Contest for grades K-5 to determine junior grand marshals,” said Bigelow. Winning entries will ride in the parade and receive prizes.
Artwork is due in the Main Street Columbus office by 5 p.m. Nov. 21.
“Our thanks to our sponsors, without which the parade would not be possible — Hyatt Place, which is sponsoring the parade grand marshal for the second year, Citizens National Bank, Eat With Us Group, BankFirst, Visit Columbus and Columbus-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce,” said Bigelow. “We hope everybody will out and celebrate the season with us as we bring the magic of Christmas to downtown Columbus.”
Applications to enter the parade or art contest are available at the MSC office, 107 Fifth St. N., or by calling 662-328-6305.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.