Lighthouse dons its Christmas best Thursday night


The Biloxi Lighthouse, Christmastime 1963. Photo by Joe Moran.

It all began with a 50-year-old photo of a Christmas-garbed Biloxi Lighthouse, and Thursday night revelers can take part in a new Biloxi tradition: the Christmas lighting of the Biloxi Lighthouse.

The ceremony, where Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich will flip a switch to energize red and silver garlands draped from the top of the 64-foot tall lighthouse, takes place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the median surrounding the U.S. 90 landmark. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served, and visitors will be able to purchase the new Christmas in Biloxi long-sleeve T-shirts.

“We began doing this ceremony because we changed the lighthouse Christmas decorations three years ago,” said Bill Raymond, manager of the Biloxi Visitors Center and the city’s historical administrator. “We had an old photograph of the lighthouse, taken by Biloxi artist Joe Moran actually, at Christmastime 1963, and we thought it would be interesting to repeat it 50 years later.

“So we contacted a manufacturer, showed them the picture, and they said, ‘Yes, we can do that.’ Once everything was hung, we thought it would be anti-climactic to just turn it on, so we decided to do this event. The response from the public has been overwhelming and it has grown every year.”

A crowd of 150 gathered in the median at Porter Avenue and U.S. 90 last year, and as many or more are expected this year, the third annual ceremony.

Said Raymond: “Santa Claus will be there, there’s the hot chocolate and cookies, and, of course, the illuminating of the Biloxi Lighthouse. It gets everyone in the Christmas spirit.”
See the lineup of Christmas events