Holiday kicks off with land, water parades

Biloxi’s Christmas on the Water marks a milestone this year — its 25th year.

The city officially ushers in the holiday season Friday at 6 with the annual Children’s Christmas Walking Parade through downtown Biloxi, culminating with the Christmas on the Water boat parade Saturday evening.

The walking parade will begin at the Howard Avenue and the I-110 overpass, proceed through the Vieux Marche, and travel south of Lameuse Street, ending at the Town Green, where the lighting of the green takes place.

Santa will be on the Town Green for visits and pictures with children, and residents are encouraged to bring ornaments to hang on a large Christmas tree. Free hot chocolate and cookies also will be served. To print a flier about the Town Green events, click here.

You’ll also find dozens of vendors downtown for the Christmas in the City crafts show on Saturday morning and afternoon.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., arts and crafts booths will be open throughout the Vieux Marche for the sixth annual Christmas in the City crafts show. Among the items for sale at the event will be Slavonian pusharattas, Marlin Miller’s book about the Katrina sculptures, and the 2010 Main Street ornament, which is a homage to the old Biloxi Yacht Club.

Then at 6 p.m, the Christmas on the Water parade will begin in the channel south of the Biloxi Lighthouse and travel eastward to Casino Row.

Best viewing location: from the lighthouse to Beau Rivage and from the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor to Casino Row. Motorists are reminded to park in parking bays only.

Other holiday events

Excelling at Christmas: The Biloxi Excel By 5 Community Coalition will host “Come Learn with Santa,” its holiday event, on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. at Lopez School. Those planning to participate should arrive promptly at 10 at the school, which is at 140 St John Ave. Children up to age 5 can sing and dance with Santa, make reindeer ears, hear stories read by Mrs. Claus and take pictures with Santa. “Come Learn with Santa,” is free to all children through age 5. Details: Susan Hunt, (228) 297-6808.

The Nutcracker: Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre will present its second annual performance of The Nutcracker on Saturday at the Saenger Theater. Guest dancers Reka Gyulai and Rostislav Dzabraev will join a cast of more than 50 local dancers for the production, which will have show times of 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults or $15 for students, military and seniors, with group rates available. To learn more about Gulf Coast Ballet and the upcoming show, click here.

Still more: For your weekend preview — including details on weekend concerts and holiday events such as Christmas at Beauvoir — click here.