Community group pushes for new Christmas parade in Ocean Springs

Community group pushes for new Christmas parade in Ocean Springs
Three organizations are teaming up to push a new Christmas parade in Ocean Springs (photo source: WLOX)

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - There's a push in Ocean Springs for a new parade to ring in the holiday spirit on the second Saturday of December.

Event organizers are still waiting on the city to approve the idea.

"It's going to be a day parade that will be real family oriented, that we want the whole community to come out," said Heather Eason with the Ocean Springs Carnival Association.

Heather is joining forces with the Elks Lodge and Krewe of Unique to bring a new parade to the city. "This is not Mardi Gras time so there's not really a competition for what parade people will be in," she said.

It's called Discover Christmas, and it will have a twist. Heather said, "The main focus of this is to collect toys for children who may not otherwise have a Christmas."

Heather said they're hoping to partner up with Blue Santa for the event. The first float will be a sleigh, and elves will go out into the crowd collecting toys. "If we can get them collected, there's somebody who we already got in mind who will take control and do this for us," said Billy Nix, one of the founders of the Ocean Springs Carnival Association.

They need the city's approval first. Police and public works will need to get on board. The team will take it up Tuesday night at the Board of Aldermen meeting. "We're just hoping to get the blessing that we can go ahead and move forward," Heather said.

Organizers say the route will begin on Porter Avenue near the yacht club. Floats will take a left on Washington, a right on Government, then wrap up at the Mary C. O'Keefe Center. It's a shorter route than some of the city's other parades, but organizers say they want to see 40 or more floats involved.

"This year's gonna be different for us because we're going to have various units," said Phil Quigley with the Ocean Springs Elks Lodge.

The Elks will handle the logistics of Discover Christmas. Phil said his team will also handle lining up all the floats the day of the parade.

It's a team effort. Krewe Unique will help raise funds and be sure the toy drive is successful. "We are going to continue to raise funds and help with the toy drive and also be able to work with the local churches and try to get the choirs involved," said Greg Gipson with Krewe Unique.

With big plans in place, all three organizations say they're hopeful the city approves their plan to bring more holiday cheer to Ocean Springs.

"It will get done. It will roll. We need the city's approval of course," Phil added.

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