Christmas events get rolling this evening

Some of the city’s long-standing Christmas traditions – including the children’s walking parade and the collection of Christmas trees representing ethnic groups and various businesses – will take on new twists this year, with new locations and new routes.

The weekend will kick off this afternoon with a pre-parade gathering – with a host of entertainment – at 5 p.m. in the courtyard at the Biloxi Public Library. Residents also will be able to step into the Biloxi Public Library to see the revival of Joyeux Noel, a display of Christmas trees representing various ethnic groups, civic organizations and businesses in Biloxi.

The Children’s Christmas Walking Parade, which could have as many as 500 children participating, will roll through downtown Biloxi beginning at 6. The parade route will travel from the library, west on Howard Avenue, around MLK Boulevard, south on Main, turning west on Howard, and south on Lameuse, before arriving at the Town Green, where a tree-lighting ceremony will be conducted.

On Saturday, you’ll find several activities planned in the downtown area, including Christmas in the City, a collection of more than a hundred arts and crafts vendors, who will gather in front of City Hall.

Of course, the centerpiece of the city’s holiday celebration is Christmas on the Water, a parade of about 50 decorated boats that will stretch from the Biloxi Lighthouse to the tip of Point Cadet. The parade begins at 6 p.m. and is usually followed by a huge fireworks show. Best viewing: the beachfront from the Biloxi Lighthouse to Oak Street on Point Cadet. Park only in parking bays; avoid parking in the center median of U.S. 90.

Then on Sunday, you’ll find the second annual Biloxi Elks tour of homes, which this year will focus on the homes of Seal Avenue. Advance tickets are $15 — $18 day of event – and are available at the Biloxi Elks Lodge (374-0606).

Hear all about it: City Historical Administrator Bill Raymond provides a preview of this weekend’s Christmas events in this week’s City Desk webcast. To listen to the 20-minute program, which also features Public Information Officer Jackie Rhodes of the Biloxi Police Department, click here.

Photos: To see Christmas sights from the downtown area, from inside the front beach Visitors Center to the trees inside the Biloxi Public Library, click here.

Print the info: To see three flyers about Biloxi’s Christmas events, including info on Sunday’s tour of homes, click here.

Santa’s a swimmer, too, this weekend at the Natatorium

Biloxi’s Christmas events are not limited to those taking place downtown or along the waterfront.

Nearly 500 swimmers representing 18 teams from four states are expected to take part in the Fourth Annual Santa’s BEST swim meet at the Biloxi Natatorium.

The event, hosted by the city’s Parks & Recreation Department and the Biloxi Elite Swim Team, will begin Friday at 5 p.m., and continue Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Biloxi aquatics manager Jamie Lee reports that Mississippi will field eight teams, with four each from Louisiana and Alabama, and two from Florida. The Biloxi Elite team will have more than 70 swimmers participating.

Other news and notes

Weekend preview: To see the weekend’s entertainment lineup, as compiled by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.

Council meetings: The Biloxi City Council will hold two meetings Tuesday: a 10:30 meeting to discuss electronic water meters, and a regularly scheduled meeting at 1:30 p.m. To see the agendas for both meetings, click here.

Calendar: To see the month’s special events calendar, click here.