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Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival helping South Mississippi shine for the holidays

Still taken on opening night 2021
Still taken on opening night 2021(WLOX)
Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 12:54 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival is now making the Coast a little bit brighter. The beloved Gulf Coast tradition returned Friday night after a year hiatus due to COVID-19 and Hurricane Zeta.

“We’re back and bigger and brighter than ever,” said Ward 4 Councilman Rusty Walker.

Mayor Billy Hewes stressed that the festival’s return is the culmination of dozens of city employees’ hard work.

“A lot of what you see was damaged in the storm when Zeta came through last year to the point that between that and COVID we couldn’t put the show on. A lot of effort, a lot of expense but a lot of man and woman hours have gone into this. We started putting it up in October so it could be ready for today,” Hewes said.

The event’s return allowed the city to bring back another tradition where a Make a Wish child gets to flip the switch and signal the beginning of the festival. This year, Kamyah Adkins was given the honor.

“It was awesome and I liked it,” Adkins said.

She wasn’t the only kid in awe. Several have been anxiously awaiting the return of the festival.

“It is pretty exciting because I haven’t got to do this in a long time and it is really nice. I like it a lot,” said Samantha Sheeley.

The large crowds on night one were no surprise.

“To be honest, this is one of the greatest festivals we have going on locally. So it is nice to see everyone come out and celebrate it together,” said Gulfport High School student Jeremiah Jean.

The festival will run through Dec. 31 and tickets can be found online.

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