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Gulfport Harbor Lights attracts record-breaking turnout

It’s a historic return following last year’s closure due to damage from Hurricane Zeta.
Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 10:05 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The City of Gulfport has seen a record-breaking turnout at its Harbor Lights Winter Festival this year.

It’s a historic return following last year’s closure due to damage from Hurricane Zeta.

From three to four million lights illuminate Jones Park this year, attracting visitors from all over.

“It’s been a record-breaking year for Harbor Lights,” city spokesperson Jase Payne said. “You know, we’ve really become a staple as far as in the south and in our region. We’ve got so many people from Louisiana, Alabama, North Mississippi and, honestly, all over the country.”

About 80,000 tickets have been sold before Christmas. For sisters Micala and Alexis Dennison, it has become an annual tradition.

“We went to some lights in Atlanta this year, and they were really nice,” Alexis Dennison said. “But these are just catered to the Gulf Coast. Like, they’re just so special. So, we always like to come and see.”

Nine-year-old Pace Armstrong visited the park from Wiggins.

“It’s really good,” he told WLOX. “I like the dancing trees, and that’s like my favorite part.”

For nine-year-old Presleigh Dykes from Columbia, her favorite part was seeing Santa.

“I was nervous at first,” she said.

With large crowds expected leading up to Christmas, city officials recommended purchasing tickets online and arriving at the park early.

You can find parking on the south side of Highway 90 and west of the harbor or at the CTA parking garage and catch a shuttle.

“We will be closed on Christmas Eve so our staff can spend the holiday with their family, but we will open back up on Christmas day at 5:30 p.m.,” Payne said.

Santa will return on Sunday, December 26.

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