Christmas parade and toy drive in Ocean Springs may be off the table

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - A Christmas parade and toy drive in Ocean Springs may be off the table.

It's a story WLOX News first reported back in April when a group of residents proposed plans for 'Discover Christmas.' The proposal was for it to be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, featuring Blue Santa and elves that go into the crowd to collect toys.

Organizers met with city leaders on June 7 and learned there may not be enough resources for the event. "I wasn't expecting them to come through and say hey, we're going to do everything ,but I did think that there would be a little bit more discussion," said organizer Heather Eason.

The group offered to change the date after learning the chamber has an event scheduled December 8.

"The Chamber of Commerce is hosting an open house downtown. Apparently, it's one of the busiest shopping days of the year for our local retailers," Heather said. "So what we offered to do was to push the parade to the following day on Sunday at 2 o'clock."

Heather was told at a May 2 Board of Aldermen meeting she needed to submit a special events permit. She handed that over on May 8. She called last week to ask about being on the next meeting's agenda to hopefully move forward with the plans.

That's when Heather was told the city wanted to meet with her first. "The police department was very bold in saying they did not support this," she said. "I was asked have you ever had to pull a kid from underneath a float, of course the answer to that is no."

The parade, if it happens, will be held in Rickey Authement's ward. He said there are still some questions surrounding the parade, but it's not off the table just yet. He said, "There was a lot of discussion including resources to allow for the event. I am confident that it would take more than one meeting and more discussion to make such an event a success."

"We really wanted this to be a charitable thing. Something different to help collect these toys for these kids that just aren't going to have Christmas otherwise," Heather added.

It's safe to say organizers were very disappointed, but they're optimistic that the parade and toy drive will move forward.

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