Jason Shelton

JASON SHELTON

As we enter December, Thanksgiving has passed, the Egg Bowl has come and gone, and Santa Claus is just around the corner. Like many cities around the world, Christmas is the most special time of the year in Tupelo. I am proud that here in Tupelo our community has never forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.

Tonight at Ballard Park we kick off the Christmas season with the official lighting of the park. Santa Claus will be on hand as will the children’s choir from Parkway Elementary School. We will have fireworks and other special treats as we get the park ready for a month of tours of the amazing display of Christmas lighting.

Tomorrow night the annual Reed’s Christmas Parade will be in Downtown and promises to be even better than ever. Businesses, churches, civic groups, and other organizations have worked hard for months so that their float is in tip-top shape for everyone to see. Local restaurants and businesses will be open Downtown during this annual special event.

As many will recall, the Christmas Parade is usually on a Friday night and not a school night. The parade has a late start and will be on a school night, but this year’s parade had to be moved to accommodate another special annual event here in Tupelo – Disney on Ice at the BancorpSouth Arena. The beloved event will take place Dec. 5 – 8 at the arena and tickets are on sale now.

And speaking of the BancorpSouth Arena, don’t forget Tupelo’s indoor ice skating rink at the arena. This is a great opportunity for good family fun at a low cost.

Another favorite holiday event is Singe Feaste by the Tupelo High School Madrigals. Take a trip back to the Renaissance with the performances of traditional holiday music and period costumes Dec. 5-7 at St. James Catholic Church.

The holiday magic continues with the Tupelo Ballet’s 37th production of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 7 at Tupelo High School Performing Arts Center. This beautiful and enchanting production includes music by the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.

This year you do not have to travel to New York to see an amazing show on Broadway. The award winning Tupelo Community Theater will be presenting “A Christmas Story” at the historical Lyric Theatre on Tupelo’s own Broadway Street Dec. 12-14. Like all TCT productions, this will be a first class production of this Christmas classic. We know you will love it, just be sure not to shoot your eye out!

The North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra will also enhance our Christmas season on Dec. 14, as veteran singer and multi-instrumentalist Terry Mike Jeffrey, who is one of the few artists to be endorsed by Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises, joins the symphony for “An Elvis Christmas.” This holiday program will give us all an opportunity to celebrate the season with Elvis’ most beloved holiday tunes and hits in the Tupelo High School Performing Arts Theater.

In addition to these many great events, please also be sure to check for other activities presented by our local churches. Many congregations in our city have world-class Christmas programs and would love for you to join them not only to have fun, but also as they share the Gospel. This is a great time to spend time with your friends who attend a different church or simply take the time to visit a church as they open their doors for holiday events and worship services.

It is an exciting time for sure to be in Tupelo. Numerous new restaurants are opening this month and there are more shops in Tupelo than ever to find your family and friends that perfect gift for Christmas. It may be easier to shop online, but nothing beats the personal service you get from our many stores right here in town that hire locals and give back to our community. And if that isn’t enough, in my opinion at least, it is a well-known fact that gifts just mean more when they come from Tupelo.

JASON SHELTON is the mayor of Tupelo. Readers can contact him at jason.shelton@tupeloms.gov

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