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Jingle Bell Jubilee set for Saturday

Broad Street in Monticello will be closed Saturday from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. to allow outside vendors and downtown stores to movetheir wares into the street during the first Monticello MarketplaceJingle Bell Jubilee.

The event marks the first time Broad Street has been completelyclosed for a public event, said Gay McElroy, an eventcoordinator.

In the past, Broad Street also served as Highway 84 and closingit would have choked a major east-west corridor in southwestMississippi. However, with the completion of the Highway 84 Bypass,Broad Street simply becomes one of Monticello’s major thoroughfaresand the heart of the downtown district.

Monticello merchants and public officials devised MonticelloMarketplace as an umbrella title for a series of four events tomark each season.

The Jingle Bell Jubilee Saturday is the first of these. Futureevents will include the Spring Spectacular Feb. 3, Summer Daze May5 and the Back to School Blast Aug. 4. Officials hope to presentMonticello Marketplace each year.

The Downtown Merchants Association, which is sponsoringMonticello Marketplace, is encouraging vendors to adapt eachseasonal theme into their displays and products.

“All downtown merchants will be expanding their stores into thestreet,” McElroy said. “Other merchants within the city are movingmerchandise here and joining vendors from outside Monticello justfor this.”

More than 75 outside merchants have registered for the event,she said, and registration is still open through the LawrenceCounty Community Development Association.

“There’s a really good variety of stuff,” McElroy said. “I wentto the Canton, Wesson and Ole Brook flea markets and passed outentry forms.”

Some outside vendors who have already committed to the eventinclude a plant nursery, yard art, needlework, children’s books andthose that personalize items, such as coffee mugs. Many othersitems and services are available, she said.

Jim Oakes, a popular local artist, will also be presenting someof his work for sale, McElroy said.

A large area has been set aside with benches to providecustomers a place to rest and devour the traditional “fair food”being offered by a several vendors.

“We’ll have a nice big rest area with entertainment so peoplecan sit around and take a break from the shopping,” McElroysaid.

A Family Fun Zone is being provided to offer enjoyableopportunities for the children. Pictures with Santa, face painting,children’s extreme makeovers and many other opportunities will bepresented there, she said.