Merry Meridian Events Announced

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

It's only October, but downtown Meridian officials are already planning for the Christmas holiday season.

The annual Christmas Parade is the highlight of the city's annual celebration. . But it's only one of scores of events that will be taking place throughout the season.

"I think it's going to be an outstanding event. It's going to be a merry, merry time," said Kate Cherry, executive director of the Meridian Museum of Art.

A news conference Tuesday announced the sites, sounds, and tastes of the family fun events of Merry Meridian 2009.

The Gingerbread House Contest sponsored by the Episcopal Church of the Mediator will kick off Merry Meridian. Sarah Mutziger made her own to show how easy it is.

"If I can do it, they can do it, because it's not that hard and it's a whole lot of fun," said Mutziger.

Entries for the Gingerbread House Contest will be displayed at the Meridian Museum of Art and the winners displayed in the front window of the MSU-Riley Center the first week of December.

But that's not all. Kids can look forward to Merry Museum at the Art Museum.
It's a workshop for children ages four through twelve and the cost is only $3.00.

And what would Merry Meridian be without some holiday tunes? Representatives from Meridian's Symphony Orchestra said they are proud to participate in Merry Meridian 2009 by presenting their Peppermint Pops Holiday Concert.

"And the concert is designed for families in mind, so please bring your kids to this concert featuring MSO Chorus and Cambiata Singers Children's Choir and listen to your favorite holiday songs and sing along," said Netella Boulton of Meridian Symphony Orchestra.

There's no better time for tradition than the holidays.

A schedule of events is listed below. Also, you may register for the Merry Meridian Market and the annual downtown Christmas Parade by clicking the link for www.meridiandowntown.com under this story, or for more information about Merry Meridian.

Merry Meridian Schedule

November 3 - December 6
The Church of the Mediator Gingerbread House Contest and Silent Auction
Wednesday - Saturday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Meridian Museum of Art
Groups by Appointment
November 19
7:00 p.m. Merrehope's Champagne and Chocolate Gala
November 20 – January 2
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Merrehope’s Trees of Christmas
December 1
5:00 p.m. The City of Meridian Tree Lighting Ceremony in Dumont Plaza
7:00 p.m. MCC Chorus Fall Semester Concert at McCain Theatre
December 3
7:00 p.m. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound; The Christmas Tour
Temple Theatre for the Performing Arts
7:00 p.m. Highland Baptist Church Singing Christmas Tree
7:30 p.m. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones; Holiday Tour
MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts
8:00 p.m. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at the Meridian Little Theatre
December 4
7:00 p.m. Highland Baptist Church Singing Christmas Tree
7:00 p.m. The Sucarnochee Review at the Temple Theatre for the Performing Arts
8:00 p.m. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at the Meridian Little Theatre
December 5
8:00 a.m. The Jingle Bell Run in Dumont Plaza
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Merry Meridian Market in Dumont Plaza
10:00 a.m. Children's Holiday Art Workshop at the Meridian Museum of Art
4:00 p.m. Highland Baptist Church Singing Christmas Tree
5:00 p.m. Christmas Parade in Downtown Meridian
7:00 p.m. Highland Baptist Church Singing Christmas Tree
7:30 p.m. Meridian Symphony Orchestra's Peppermint Pops at
MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts
8:00 p.m. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Meridian Little Theatre
December 6
10:30 a.m. Merry Merry Holiday Brunch at Merrehope
12:30 p.m. Merry Merry Holiday Brunch at Merrehope
2:00 p.m. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
4:00 p.m. Highland Baptist Church Singing Christmas Tree
7:00 p.m. Highland Baptist Church Singing Christmas Tree
December 11
7:30 p.m. Steve Amerson & Laurie Stephenson Christmas Concert with the Meridian Symphony Chorus at the Temple Theatre for the Performing Arts
December 12
6:30 p.m. Meridian Museum of Art, Art Gala

Merry Meridian begins with family fun and artistic talents as the Episcopal Church of the Mediator sponsors a Gingerbread House Contest. The entries will be displayed at the Meridian Museum of Art from November 3rd through Dec 6th. Entries will be judged for excellence in construction and creativity. The winners will be on display in the front window of the MSU Riley Center the first week of December. A "People's Choice Award" will also be announced, based on votes from viewers at the museum.
Registration for the contest is ongoing through October. Entry forms are available at the Church of the Mediator, the Meridian-Lauderdale County Public Library and the Meridian Museum of Art. Viewers can also join in on the fun by participating in a silent auction of the entries from the web site located at www.mediatormeridian.com. Funds raised will support the Church of the Mediator's community outreach and children's programs. To view contest details or download entry forms, go to www.mediatormeridian.com. For more information call Sarah Mutziger at 601-485-7778.

Merrehope’s 41st Annual Trees of Christmas will open on November 19th with a Champagne and Chocolate Gala announcing the latest developments at The Meridian Restoration Foundation. This popular event will unveil trees and exhibits of “A Global Christmas” featuring Christmas music, delicious delicacies and the perfect opportunity to view the splendid architecture of antebellum Merrehope and the Victorian F. W. Williams home all decked out in their finest holiday style. For over 41 years Meridianites and out of towners alike have looked forward with anticipation to the beginning of “the holiday season” at the annual candlelight tour. This year a new menu and special recognitions will welcome faithful attendees and attract newcomers to the holiday happening. The event will be held from 7:00 p.m until 9:00 p.m. For more information please go to www.merrehope.com or call 601-483-8439.

Trees of Christmas Tours will open on Friday, November 20th, 2009 and continue through Saturday, January 2nd, 2010. There is no better way to get the Christmas spirit than viewing creatively decorated theme exhibits portraying “A Global Christmas”. Tours of both houses are $10 per person with special rates for children and senior citizens. Hours of operation are Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Special arrangements can be made for private luncheons, dinners, parties and other events. For more information call 601-483-8439. Merrehope and the F. W. Williams home are located at 905 Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Drive.

Dumont plaza will come alive with the sights and sounds of the holidays on December 1st at 5:00 p.m. as the City of Meridian officially kicks of the holiday season at the Tree Lighting Ceremony. For more information about the City of Meridian Tree Lighting Ceremony, call Connie Royal at 601-485-1944 or go to www.meridianms.org.

Here is information about Merry Meridian, as provided in a news release:

December the 1st at 7:00 p.m., Meridian Community College, under the direction of Tammy Miles and Twyla Hurst, will present an evening of choral literature from various composers, time periods and cultures for the MCC Chorus Fall Semester Concert. Traditional Christmas repertoire will be included. In addition to the concert choir, MCC vocal ensemble, Dimensions, will entertain the audience with pop, rock and R&B selections. For more information about MCC Chorus Fall Semester Concert at McCain Hall on the MCC campus, call 601-484-8628 or go to www.meridian.cc.edu/artsnletters.

The Jimmie Rodgers Foundation is proud to present Ernie Haase & Signature Sound in concert at the Temple Theatre for the Performing Arts on Thursday, December 3, 2009. According to Richard Ferguson, concert producer for the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation, “This is going to be the gospel event of the year here in Mississippi. This concert will be the opening concert for “EHSS SOLO” - The Christmas Tour. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7:00 p.m. For more information, call 601-693-5353 or go to www.itickets.com.

Come hear the glory of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Highland Baptist Church's, Singing Christmas Tree. Beginning December 3rd - 6th nightly at 7:00 p.m. plus 4:00 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Over the history of the tree, over 400 different singers have sung and all who could be located were invited back to sing this year. Six have chosen to return from as far away as Texas, Arkansas and Indiana. The 90 voice choir and the 25 piece orchestra will be sharing their favorite songs from the tree's 220 song history. The number one choice and title of this year's program is, "I Have Seen the Light". For free tickets or more information about the Highland Baptist Church Singing Christmas Tree call 601-482-0191 or go to www.highlandbaptist.net.

The MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts presents Bela Fleck and the Flecktones on Thursday, December 3rd at 7:30 p.m. Fleck has been nominated in more diverse categories than any other artist in Grammy history. Performing with the Flecktones, Fleck and the band fuse bluegrass, jazz and funk sounds to create their critically acclaimed and wildly poplar sound. Enjoy sounds from their Grammy-winning album Jingle All The Way including holiday classics heard like never before and funk-filled versions of songs from Vince Guaraldi's a Charlie Brown Christmas. For more information, call 601-696-2200 or go to www.msurileycenter.com.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson, is a hilarious Christmas tale. A couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids - probably the most inventively awful kids in history. You won't believe the mayhem - and the fun - when the Herdman collide with the Christmas Story head on! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever begins at the Meridian Little Theatre on December 3rd - 5th at 8:00 p.m. with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on December 6th. For more information about the Best Christmas Pageant Ever, call 601-482-6371 or go to www.meridianlittletheatre.com.

We are proud to announce that on December 4, 2009, at the Temple Theatre for the Performing Arts, the Sucarnochee Revue will be presenting “Teen Artists Night”. At this event we will be showcasing new and young talent from throughout the East Mississippi and West Alabama area. Jacky Jack White, Producer of the show, guarantees that this will be a show you don’t want to miss. The show will begin at 7:00 p.m. with the doors to open at 6:00 p.m. For more information about the Sucarnochee Review, call 601-693-5353.

The Meridian Athletic Association along with BankPlus will host the Jingle Bell 5k run, 5k walk and 1 mile fun run for kids. This event will take place on December 5th, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. at BankPlus on 22nd Ave in downtown Meridian. Long sleeve t-shirts to all registrants and awards will be given out in each age group. For applications and more information visit www.meridianathletic.com. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Begin your cool down walk after the Jingle Bell Run by browsing through over 100 holiday vendors at the Trustmark Merry Meridian Market. The market highlights this year’s hottest gifts including specialty shops, foods and crafts. The Market begins at 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Fun will be coming down in droves from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at the Children’s Holiday Art Workshop at the Meridian Museum of Art where kids can decorate their very own work of art to add to your family's holiday decorations. Plan to stay the whole day at the market enjoying the food, gifts, art and holiday music so you can get a great seat for Mississippi's largest night time Holiday Parade at 5:00 p.m. The theme for this year’s parade is "Joy to the World". With over 150 entries, this parade will be a sight to see with lighted floats, marching bands and kids groups. For more information about Merry Meridian Market or the Christmas Parade contact 601-693-7480 or go to www.meridiandowntown.com. For more information about the Art Blizzard Workshop call 601-693-1501 or go to www.meridianmuseum.org.

After the parade, enjoy Meridian Symphony's Peppermint Pops at 7:30 p.m. in the MSU Riley Center, a festive concert of holiday favorites, featuring performances by the MSO Chorus and Cambiata Singers Children's Choir. The orchestra will perform familiar classics and favorites, such as "Go Tell It On the Mountain" and "Twas the Night Before Christmas". The concert is definitely designed with families in mind. For more information about Peppermint Pops, call 601-693-2224 or go to www.meridiansymphonyorchestra.com.

Highlighting Sunday in Merry Meridian will be the Merry Merry Holiday Brunch at Merrehope. Treat your family and friends to a scrumptious brunch featuring new and old holiday favorites including wine and champagne in the elegantly decorated 20 room mansion. You will be able to make this a very special occasion for the holiday season by making your reservation early. The first seating will be at 10:30 a.m. and the second seating will be at 12:30 p.m. Advance tickets are required and reservations may be made for individual seats or tables for your party of four, six, or eight by calling 601-483-8439. MAKE MERRY MERRY AT MERREHOPE! For more information go to www.merrehope.com.

On December 11, 2009, in the Temple Theatre for the Performing Arts, there will be a Christmas Concert featuring the wonderful and beautiful voices of Laurie Gale Stephenson and Steve Amerson. Additionally, members of the Meridian Symphony Chorus will accompany them. Make plans now to hear some beautiful Christmas music at the Historic Temple Theatre. Tickets will be available at the Temple Box Office or you may call 601-693-5353 for further information.

The Grand Finale of Merry Meridian 2009 is the Meridian Museum of Art, Art Gala on December 12th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The gala is a special event that combines the reception for the Museum Members Show with a program that remembers and honors the people who have helped to build and support the Museum over the 39 years of its existence. For more information about the gala call 601-693-1501 or go to www.meridianmuseum.org.


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