On Friday, December 7, enjoy free live music, holiday decorations, and traditional treats at the twenty-third annual Christmas by Candlelight Tour. This year seven sites will be open and sporting holiday decorations—the State Capitol, Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Old Capitol Museum, Manship House Museum, and Eudora Welty House and Garden, plus the new Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
Park and take advantage of the shuttle buses running between sites or drive your vehicle and come and go on your own schedule. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. and lasts until 8:30 p.m.
Governor Phil Bryant and First Lady Deborah Bryant will welcome visitors to the circa-1842 Mississippi Governor's Mansion, which will be decorated with seasonal greenery and a twelve-foot Christmas tree. A very special guest from the North Pole will be available in the East Garden for family pictures. Homemade gingerbread and sugar cookies prepared by mansion executive chef Jamie Patrick will be served along with hot chocolate. Christmas piano music will be performed inside the mansion from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The grand Mississippi State Capitol will be decorated with three lighted Christmas trees on the first- and second-floor rotundas. Garlands will adorn the rotunda’s balustrades, and Mississippi-grown poinsettias will line the grand staircase. Visitors are invited to take photographs with Santa Claus. The Mustard Seeds Bells of Faith will perform at 4:30 p.m., followed by Sessions Jazz Ensemble, led by Senate Staff Attorney Bob Davidson. On the third floor, visit the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives and the ceremonial office of the Governor.
The Old Capitol, Jackson’s oldest building, will suspend garlands from the rotunda railing on the second floor and the stairwells and decorate the exterior of the building with wreaths. A fourteen-foot-tall Christmas tree will stand in the Chancery Court room. Performing will be the Power APAC Choir at 4:30 p.m.; Pearl High School Choir at 5 p.m.; Hinds Harmony at 5:30 p.m.; Mississippi Girlchoir at 6 p.m.; Germantown High School Choir at 6:30 p.m.; and St. Andrew's Episcopal Upper School Choir at 7 p.m. The Hinds Community College Brass Ensemble will perform between the choir sets.
The 1857 Gothic Revival Manship House Museum will sport period holiday decorations. Musical performances will include the Figgy Pudding Singers of St. Phillips Episcopal Church, 5–6 p.m., and the Bonnie Blue Band singing songs of the Civil War era from 6 to 8 p.m. Saint Nicholas will make a special appearance, and reenactors portraying members of the Manship family will welcome visitors to the site. The Hinds Community College School of Culinary Arts will provide treats made from nineteenth century recipes.
Visitors to the Eudora Welty House and Garden will tour the first floor of Welty’s house and see holiday photographs and a selection of greeting cards from some of Welty’s closest friends, including members of the “Night Blooming Cereus Club” and the “Basic Eight.” Keyboardist Sergio Fernandez will play jazz standards in the Education and Visitors Center.
Joining the Candlelight Tour for the first time are the Two Mississippi Museums—the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. The ever-popular model town of Possum Ridge and its trains will be on the second floor. Museum staff will serve refreshments. Performing will be Baker Elementary School Choir at 4:30 p.m., Jerry Jenkins/The African Ensemble at 5 p.m., Ballet Magnificat at 6:30 p.m., Anderson United Methodist Church Choir at 7 p.m., Society Ridge Baptist Church Choir at 7:30 p.m., and Cade Chapel M. B. Church Choir at 8 p.m.
The Mississippi Museum Store will be open and have a wide selection of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa items for sale, along with local pottery, Choctaw baskets and jewelry, signed books, and other Mississippi gift ideas. The museums will be open throughout the evening with regular ticketed admission.