(WLOX) - The City of Biloxi kicked off the holidays Friday night with a Christmas parade and the annual lighting of the town green's display. Crowds of people filled the downtown area near Lameuse Street, helping ring in the holiday with lots of festive cheer.
Reagan Goff, 9, says she enjoyed the parade and scavenging the streets for as many beads as she could find. But it was a jolly man in a red suit that got all the kids, including Reagan, excited. though there was quite a wait to visit him.
"It is very crowded," said Reagan. "Right now, they're doing Santa and it's a very long line."
People of all ages gathered at the event, sharing in the Christmas spirit and spreading the holiday cheer to others.
"I want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas," said Raven Parker of Biloxi. "I hope you have the best time with your family and enjoy it while you can!"
And Santa wasn't the only thing that kids were excited to see. Many were eager to get a glimpse of the city's lights display.
"I'm most excited to see all the beautiful lights because all of Christmas, it's just great to see the lights, come out here, go all over Mississippi and see beautiful lights," said Hunter Spivack of Ocean Springs.
According to city official Cecilia Dobbs Walton, 200 kids participated in the Christmas parade.
"Tonight is the 'Christmas on the Water' children's walking parade," said Walton. "It began at the Frank Gruich Center and ended at the Biloxi Town Green, where the children were met with Santa Claus, lighting of the Christmas tree and all the lights on the Town Green. Children were able to decorate the Christmas tree, get handmade gifts, get hot chocolate and goodies."
The annual event brought out many families, helping to kick off the season of giving for the entire city.
"It's a great holiday," said Spivack. "You come out here you can celebrate family being together, gifts, what you're thankful for."
Biloxi's big weekend of holiday excitement is just getting started. On Saturday, Dec. 3, local arts and crafts vendors will take over the Visitor's Center for the holiday open house.