Christmas on the rails and Shop by Candlelight will bring the Christmas spirit to Picayune

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Keith Brown, Picayune fire chief, estimates thousands of people from all over the county will flood downtown Picayune on Dec. 2 to attend the Christmas on the Rails and Shop by Candlelight festivities.

From 5 to 8 p.m. participants will be busy enjoying the activities surrounded by over 20,000 Christmas lights illuminating Goodyear Boulevard and West and East Canal Streets.

During the festivities, people of all ages will have a chance to hop on board the Lincoln Express Toy Train ride, hay rides and old timey stage coach rides in front of Jack Read Park and experience “the beauty of Picayune’s Christmas spirit,” Brown said.

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The rides include multiple pick-up and drop-off destinations from Jack Read Park to the Intermodal Transportation and Tourist Center to East Canal Street, Brown said.

“It is beautiful around this time of year in Picayune,” Brown said. “Everyone is in such a great mood and the city really shines.”

The main attraction during the festivities will be a visit from Santa Claus, who will bring the Mrs. along to greet the children and ask what they want to see under their Christmas trees. The Claus family will arrive at the park on a fire truck at 5 p.m. If a visit and a picture with Santa is not enough, children can ride to North Main Street and get their picture taken with the Grinch who came from Whoville to meet and greet the Picayune community.

Luminaries will line the streets in the downtown shopping area with all the local stores decorated and stocked with Christmas gifts and décor. Brown, along with Picayune Main Street, invites everyone to come out and support their community by shopping locally for Christmas wish list items.

While people walk along the streets, Christmas carols from children’s choirs will fill the air.

“Each year we expect a bigger turnout than the year prior and that seems to always be the case,” Brown said. “Because of that, we try and change something up to cope with the growing numbers and this year we added more choirs to spread the spirit of Christmas.”

This year, four children’s choirs will be performing in front of City Hall throughout the event. Also, hot chocolate will be available for all participants at two locations, the city parking lot on West Canal Street and the Intermodal Transportation and Tourist Center parking lot at 200 Highway 11 South.

On East Canal Street’s Music Row will feature local church choirs and regional talent groups under the direction of Linda Wright from the New Orleans House of Blues.

Marie Antoinette Whitman’s “Whitmanville” Christmas village will be on display throughout the festivities at 127B West Canal Street.