Let Christmas begin

Kara Best, 4, crawled out the window an into Santa’s arms as Ann Espey, left, holds on. Kara and Espey got to hug Santa at Woodland’s Season of Light that opened Friday night. (Photo by Floyd Ingram)

The Christmas season officially began in Woodland and Okolona this week.

Woodland saw the Season of Light unveil in the town south of Houston with thousands of lights on display and a visit by Santa. Okolona hosted it’s annual Christmas Parade through the streets of Downtown Okolona Monday night.

“We’ve been doing this Christmas lighting in Woodland for about four years and it gets bigger and bigger every year,” said Woodland Alderman Linda Dendy. “Last year Santa gave away 22,000 candy canes.

The Woodland Season of Light began Friday night with Santa handing out candy canes to good girls and boys in downtown Woodland. While the lights will be lit each night through Christmas, Santa only arrives to hand out candy on Friday and Saturday during the holiday season.

“We have people from all across Northeast Mississippi come to see these lights,” said Dendy. “Everybody in the town participates and it just makes me proud to be from Woodland.”

The Okolona Christmas Parade marched down Main Street Monday night complete with floats, walking units, a band and horses.

“A lot of people put a lot of hard work into this parade,” said Mary Gates, mistress of ceremonies for the Okolona Christmas Parade. “We had a good turnout of people lining the streets, too.”

Okolona’s Christmas Parade saw five floats in the parade with Shearer Richardson Nursing Home taking the First Place ribbon.

The theme for this year’s parade was “Christmas Dream.” The Okolona parade had 29 entries.