Harbor Lights Winter Festival shines bright despite stolen decorations

Harbor Lights Winter Festival shines bright despite stolen decorations

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's been just months since the city of Gulfport had thousands of dollars worth of Christmas decorations stolen.

The burglary was upsetting to many, like Lisa Hickman of Saucier.

"I thought that was awful. I don't know why anybody would want to do something like that," she said. "It's just terrible. Spoil the lights for the kids," said Saucier.

Although it left some wondering if it would affect the Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival, the lights haven't dimmed. In fact, they're even brighter.

"To be honest, no it didn't cross my mind that it would affect it negatively," Devin Smith said. "And it looks like it hasn't because it's wonderful."

The festival is something she appreciates for her family.

"It's just a really nice, safe place for the community and I have four children, four little boys up here with my nieces and nephews and it's just, it's magical for them," Smith added.

Likewise, it's an impressive event for Olevia Scarborough.

"Definitely the lights. I like the fact they have rides now. It's something for the family to come out and do," Scarborough said. "I figured they'd come back probably stronger like they did. It's how we do down here."

City officials say they were able to absorb the roughly $20,000 loss, mostly because of the huge five-year, $2.5 million commitment from Island View Casino Resort.

"We'd never let a Grinch ruin Christmas on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Chris Vignes, City of Gulfport. "You know, that was a small hiccup. We've moved forward and actually have a bigger and better show than last year."

That includes more rides, more lights, and of course, Santa Claus, every night.

Leigh Rapp is impressed enough with what she's seen, that she'll tell her Illinois neighbors to take a look for themselves.

"I'd tell them they'd have to come see it," Rapp said. "We drove by last night and saw all the lights and we decided to come back to see."

Guests can enjoy the sights and sounds from 5 to 9 p.m. every night. Admission is $5 per person.

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