Thursday, December 13, 2007
Kicking off Christmas in Byhalia
By SUE WATSON
A crowd of about 200 adults and children gathered Friday night at the Byhalia Fire Station to usher in the Christmas season with a mini-parade, the official lighting of the tree, caroling, dancing, listening to the Christmas message and a visit with Santa.
The event is held each year in conjunction with a chili supper to help raise money for the fire department.
Organized this year by Doris Lee with the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce, she said the town will strive to have a full parade next year.
An addition this year was a parade led by the Byhalia High School Band followed by Santa on the fire engine and escorted by city police patrols. The parade arrived at the fire station just after caroling, dancing, and the giving of the Christmas message by Virgil Scherff, pastor of Friendship Assembly of God, and the lighting of the tree by Mayor Scooter Dempsey.
Weather was balmy and in the high 60s this year, raising attendance and an abundance of joy.
Tony Crockett directed the Byhalia High School Band, which marched and played from Citizens Bank up to Church Street, then down Highway 309 north and across Highway 178 to the parking lot at the fire station where children and some adults danced in the street as the band played.
Opening carols were sung by children from Kids World Day Care and Head Start inside the station prior to Santa’s arrival. Theresa Ables and Calvertis Brown led the choirs.
Rev. Scherff reviewed the highlights of the Christmas story - the angels heralding the arrival of baby Jesus to Mary and the Shepherds, and the arrival of three kings from the East who brought gifts to the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger - the Savior.
“From this we understand how the giving of gifts came to be,” Scherff said.
Summer’s Dancers then entertained the guests followed by members of the second, third and fourth grades of Friendship Christian Academy in Victoria who led carols under the direction of Heather Cook and Pam Hodge.
Dempsey and the Byhalia Cub Scouts led the procession to the Christmas tree where more caroling took place.
Families enjoyed hot dogs and chili and cake as they waited for a turn to visit with Santa and have a photo taken.
Gifts for children were donated by Citizens Bank.
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