Downtown Jackson will come alive the evening of Dec. 2 as the city celebrates the second annual Capital City Lights.
The collaborative event brings together merchants, restaurants, museums, and government to feature concerts, storefront displays, children’s activities, a vendors’ market, art exhibitions, food trucks, and the annual tree lighting at Jackson City Hall.
“We are thrilled to bring Capital City Lights back again this year as we work together to make it a new holiday tradition for our community,” said David Lewis, Jackson’s Deputy Director of Human and Cultural Services.
Different groups have produced various holiday events downtown for many years, he said. In 2021, to tie in with the city’s bicentennial celebration, the decision was made to have all those organizations work together for a unified event.
“Last year went really well. We had about two dozen groups involved, and this year we will have three dozen. It’s going to be bigger and brighter than ever,” Lewis said.
The event promises to be “a great way to get a glimpse into the magic of Jackson all at once,” said Christina Spann, Community Liaison for the city’s bicentennial.
To help people navigate between sites, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History will offer a shuttle service. Stops will be at the State Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, Two Mississippi Museums, Old Capitol Museum and the Mississippi Museum of Art.
Here’s a rundown of some of the special events planned. All activities are from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. except as noted:
- Free live music, holiday decorations, and treats at the Mississippi State Capitol, Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Old Capitol Museum, Museum of Mississippi History, and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
- Trackless train rides and photos with Santa at the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion.
- A Possum Ridge train display, choirs, museum store, and holiday craft activity for families at Two Mississippi Museums.
- *Traditional holiday decorations, festival holiday lighting, faux snow, and a Eudora Welty House set up in the Nichols Room at the Old Capitol Museum. There will also be a special choir performance from 5 p.m. until 5:45 p.m.
- Session Jazz Ensemble at the Mississippi State Capitol. Chambers of the House and Senate and offices of the House Speaker and Governor will be available to view, and the Capitol gift shop will be open.
- Musical performances, a Capital City Drag Holiday Storytime, and Capital City Pride Block Party on the Main Stage at Capitol Street and President Street, 8-10 p.m.
- A holiday tree lighting ceremony, movies, and performances by school groups at City Hall beginning at 4:45 p.m.
- Magnolia Sunset Markets at the Heritage Building, 5-9:30 p.m. featuring a selection of vendors showcasing artisan merchandise, foods and more.
- *A pop-up art gallery presented by The Mashup in the former Shopkeep Co. Building on Capitol Street.
- Area merchants throughout the district will compete in the AIA Jackson Holiday Storefront Competition to create magical storefront displays.
- The Mississippi Science Museum, Municipal Art Gallery and BeanPath will have activities for kids and families in the 300 Block of East Capitol Street.
- Regions Plaza will be offering a brilliant, interactive lighting display in one of downtown’s great pocket plazas.
- The Jackson Welcome Center will feature cookie decorating activities, a Santa’s workshop and visits with Santa, plus merchandise discounts.
- Lights and food trucks will be set up alongside the Jackson Davis Planetarium.
- 601 Studios’ teachers and students will be performing holiday favorites in the bistro-style outdoor plaza of the Arts Center of Mississippi, 5-8 p.m.
- The Mississippi Museum of Art will be exhibiting the Younger Foundation Creche and Bethlehem Tree Collection and offer holiday shopping at the museum store, hot chocolate, children’s art activity, and more.
- Nutcracker ballerinas and performers will greet guests and offer special treats at the Plaza of Thalia Mara Hall. The 40th annual Nutcracker performance by Ballet Mississippi will follow at 7:30 p.m.
- The Westin will host their Fifth Annual Festival of Trees and ice skating rink.
- Jackson’s iconic cross, a longstanding tradition, will be lighted on the Capitol Towers Building.
- The Lamar Life building clock tower will be illuminated in red and green.
- The Walthall/Courthouse Lofts will be open for tours.
- The Capital Club will be open for a holiday happy hour with special decorations
- Merchant open houses with extended hours will be provided by Pretty Slayer, Thimblepress, Offbeat and more.
- Dining and drinks will be provided by The Weekend JXN, Hal and Mal’s, 4th Avenue Lounge, Martin’s, Estelle at The Westin, and more.
- Last year’s event was filmed and incorporated into a holiday special that garnered WJTV a Southeast Emmy Award. The program, called “A Mississippi Carol: Capitol Lights” features Walt Grayson and is available for viewing free online at YouTube.
- More information, including maps of exact locations for each event, are available at capitalcitylights.com.