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Town welcomes friends for Christmas

The Wesson Friends of the Library are preparing to paint thetown red and green Friday night for the third annual Christmas WithFriends, basically an open house holiday celebration highlightingthe Wesson Public Library and downtown businesses.

Librarian Susan Alsbury said the event, which is scheduled for 5p.m. until 8 p.m., will feature more than 20 drawings andgive-aways, treasure hunts, art exhibits, performances, Christmascaroling, refreshments and tours. The event’s lineup lists morethan 20 activities scheduled at various downtown locationsthroughout the three-hour function.

“We try to bring people downtown to celebrate the season and dotheir Christmas shopping as a way of giving back to the community,”Alsbury said.

Some of Christmas With Friends’ main attractions include adowntown treasure hunt, where participants pick up a list of cluesat the library, search for the answer to the clues and deposittheir answers in a basket in city hall. Two drawings, one at 5 p.m.and one at 6 p.m., will determine the winners of a pair of $50savings bonds from Trustmark and Copiah Bank, respectively.

There will also be such attractions as an inflatable slide forchildren, free hot cider and popcorn at city hall and face paintingand glow sticks at the library. Santa Claus is also is set toentertain children at the fire station.

Sandra Deaton Matthews will sell and sign copies of herchildren’s book, “Boomer and Friends,” and John Landress willcreate balloon art for the kids.

Wesson artist Sheila Stewart, Whitney Knight, Justin Brannon andDanielle Brown will have art exhibits on display, and the DixielandCloggers will step and stomp in front of city hall. Judy Robicheauxwill take listeners to the swamp with her recital of “The CajunNight Before Christmas.”

Alsbury said several downtown businesses will host open houses,such as the Mexican restaurant Los Lobos, which will bring in aMariachi band.

Plenty of other activities are scheduled throughout thenight.

Wesson Friends of the Library President Marilyn Britt said sheexpects several hundred people to crowd into downtown to takeadvantage of the miniature festival, which began in 2006 as a wayto raise awareness of the library and promote the downtownarea.

“It was several things we wanted to send a message out about atonce,” she said. “We just wanted to create a Christmas-themed eventfor downtown Wesson and let the library give back to the community.It’s basically a family time in downtown.”

Wesson Mayor Alton Shaw said the event’s family-oriented naturemade it the perfect fit for the citizens of his town.

“It just kind of brings it back to the old, hometown Christmasesthat people miss a lot these days,” he said. “It helps foster unityin the community. It’s a good thing because it’s something notreally made for adults or made for children, but it’s made forfamilies.”