Harrison County

Here’s why it’s Christmas already in Jones Park

Evan Heidingfelder, 7, of Gulfport is wowed by the Christmas light display during the inaugural 2015 Harbor Lights Winter Festival at Jones Park in the city harbor off U.S. 90.
Evan Heidingfelder, 7, of Gulfport is wowed by the Christmas light display during the inaugural 2015 Harbor Lights Winter Festival at Jones Park in the city harbor off U.S. 90. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

You’ve probably been wondering why the Christmas trees and lights are up so early in Jones Park.

Well, Gulfport City Council president Rusty Walker has the scoop, although some secrecy is involved — nondisclosure agreements and such.

The Christmas display has a role in a secret project, Walker said, with a “third party” planning to film in July.

He said the company that sold the city the electronic display, Universal Concepts of Atlanta, was available in June to install it.

The metal frames shaped like giant Christmas trees and decked with lights that dance to music already dot the park in the city’s harbor on U.S. 90. They are the centerpiece of the city’s popular Harbor Lights Winter Festival.

Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival had a trial run on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

Another vendor will hook up the electronics in July ahead of the shoot.

Walker says the city will be getting national publicity from the filming. We’re just not allowed to know more about the project now or it might disappear.

And because the display is already up, the city might just get some early use out of it. Walker said the lights might run some weekends and during the annual antique car show in October, Cruisin’ the Coast.

The actual festival kicks off after Thanksgiving and runs until the New Year.

So, there you go.

And if you were further wondering how the display held up during Tropical Storm Cindy, Walker has some good news.

“Sixty mile-per-hour wind gusts down there,” he said, “and they didn’t budge.”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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