Christmas on the Water weekend has arrived

Christmas shoppers looking for local arts and crafts fare, east Biloxi should be your destination this weekend, with a host of open houses and fairs on tap. The festivities actually begin later this afternoon  with the Christmas on the Water Children’s Parade and the Lighting of the Town Green, but, come Saturday, it’s all about shopping. 

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. more than 50 artists and craftsmen will be showing and selling their wares for the Biloxi Visitors Center Holiday Open House. “This is a chance for people to shop locally,” Biloxi Historical Administrator Bill Raymond said.  “It is also a chance to support and showcase our local artists.”

The affair, which is free and open to the public, will include refreshments, children’s activities, pictures with Santa Claus and complimentary breakfast beginning at 9 a.m. Furthermore, volunteers from the West End Hose Co. No. 3 Fire Museum will be selling seafood gumbo during lunch hours.

Also on Saturday, Biloxi Main Street will host its annual downtown festival, Christmas in the City. Nearly 100 vendors will line the Rue Magnolia and Water Street area from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. selling specialty items. “This is our twelfth annual event,” Biloxi Main Street Executive Director Kay Miller said.  “This is a family fun event filled with vendors as well as carolers, a choir and dancers for entertainment.”

There will also be a $100 cash giveaway every hour and the organization’s 20th year Christmas Ornament, designed with the Biloxi Town Green sign and shoo-fly, will be available for purchase. 

And for the savvy shoppers wanting to attend both events, have no fear.  The Biloxi Tour Train will run continuously every 30 minutes stopping at three locations: the Biloxi Visitors Center, Rue Magnolia and Jackson Street, and southwest on Howard near the Emporium. 

You’ll also find an open house with plenty of activities at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be holiday crafts, face painting, story book reading, refreshments, local artists, museum store discounts, and a performance by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Messiah Chorus. The Biloxi Fire Department also will be on hand, and Santa will be available for photos with children and adults from 10 a.m. 1 p.m.

Capping off the day of arts and crafts on Saturday will be the city’s signature holiday event, the Christmas on the Water Boat Parade, which begins at dark at the Biloxi Lighthouse and travels eastward along the shoreline, toward Point Cadet.
See a complete list of holiday events in Biloxi
See an overall lineup of weekend events 
See photos from Thursday’s Biloxi Lighthouse gathering
City Desk: Hear a preview of Christmas on the Water events


Council may move forward on three fronts

Three big forward-looking issues top the City Council meeting agenda for Tuesday: redistricting for the 2017 municipal elections, waterfront design standards, and borrowing $7 million to fund myriad city improvement projects.

The good news for Biloxi voters: Your ward lines are not going to change under a proposal on the agenda. In a hearing last week, councilmembers heard “overwhelming support for a redistricting plan that minimizes changes to ward boundaries until the publication of the 2020 Decennial Census.” Two polling places, formerly at the Saenger (Ward 2B) and the Business Technology Center (Ward 6), are scheduled to move, pending council approval, to the Dr. Martin King Jr. Municipal Building and the A.J. Holloway Sport Complex, respectively, for easier access.

The council is also expected to take a position on the proposed waterfront design standards and guidelines, which are designed to influence future development along Biloxi’s waterfront and provide enhanced public access. During a hearing last week, there was no opposition to the proposals; in fact, only supporters spoke.

The other significant issue on the agenda is a proposal to borrow $7 million that would be primarily to move forward with streets, drainage and other quality-of-life improvements, primarily in the Woolmarket community. The borrowed money would be paid back through existing debt-service payments.
See the City Council agenda and supporting documents
See the proposed ward line map
Hear a previous discussion the waterfront standards