Ballard Park: Let there be lights

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Crowds of Christmas-minded kids and adults gathered at the Ballard Park gazebo on Monday to light up the night.
The ducks in Ballard Park Lake quacked during the “Three! Two! One!” countdown. Then a flip of a switch turned on more than 100,000 lights, including numerous trees, Santas, presents and snowmen.
Don Lewis, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, said the display will glow until after Christmas.
“Everyone can walk around the park and see the lights,” he said. “As opposed to a driving tour, we have a walking tour.”
Monday’s rain wasn’t exactly wintry precipitation, but the gazebo was decorated with electronic snowflakes and hanging lights that resembled icicles, while members of the Thomas Street Elementary School Choir performed holiday songs.
At the end of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” the students added the Tupelo-approved line “Like Elvis!” after the “go down in history” part. They also stomped their feet and rang bells during “We Will Jingle,” a holiday version of the sports anthem, “We Will Rock You.”
Christmas at Ballard Park is an annual event for Wendy Foster, 26, of Pontotoc, and her daughters, Aariana, 6, and Ally, 4. After the lighting, they took a free train ride through the park.
“It was great. I loved it,” Foster said.
“I had fun,” Ally added.
Aariana was interested in visiting the Oren Dunn Museum, where they had free hot chocolate.
“Yeah, and to see the Grinch,” she said.
The Grinch will return to the museum from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 11 for those who didn’t get to meet the green fellow Monday.
In addition, an exhibit of old-fashioned toys will be on display at the museum until Dec. 29 for anyone looking for a quick visit to Christmas past.

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