There may not be a more celebrated tradition in Meridian than the Trees of Christmas during the holiday season. Last year, Trees of Merrehope brought in 5,000 visitors with about half of that amount being people from out of state. Visitors this year can anticipate musical overtones as the theme is "Broadway Lights." Admission to both houses is $10 with tours beginning Friday, November 16 and lasting until December 29.
Betty Lou Jones, president of the Meridian Restorations Foundation, tells us, "They can expect a delightful experience of seeing two beautiful homes decorated for Christmas, and they'll experience the history as well as the decorations that bring it up to date, and they can enjoy a holiday time and get their merry on at Merrehope!"
Trees of Merrehope is a fundraiser that helps keep both homes at the Merrehope site open.
"Well, the money is used for the upkeep of both houses, but right now we need a lot of repair work on the F.W. Williams house. Still our problem has been the damage that was done by Katrina. We're trying to get that done, so we're primarily working on that," Jones explains.
The Trees of Merrehope aren't just a family tradition here in Meridian and Lauderdale County, but also brings in lots of dollars to the tourism department, something that new tourism director Dede Mogollon hopes to continue to expand in the years to come.
"It certainly is hard to determine how successful it is, but all of our visitors and all of our entities do a great job of tracking how many visitors we have from out of state," says Mogollon. "Our hotels work with us to try and determine how many people stayed, so we're going to take a good gauge this year, and look towards future years and see if we can't grow that."
For a complete listing of all Merry Meridian events, click on the link at the bottom of the article.