Grinch parade

The Grinch who stole Christmas made an appearance in the 2018 Sertoma Club of Laurel parade. (LL-C file photo)


Leader-Call staffers love events. If it isn’t because they get us out of the house, it’s because they help us fill our pages with top-quality photography.

Events that bring visitors to our area — visitors who will spend money here — have obviously struggled this year. It seemed the entire town was dismayed when the City of Laurel shot down the second yearly Downtown Countdown and loblolly pine cone drop set for New Year’s Eve. Susan Ladd, the incoming executive director of Laurel Main Street, said the city council re-examined that decision, saw the guidelines in place and rescinded their decision. So for now, we’re set to end the year on a good note. It also goes to show that not every event needs canceling amid this ongoing crisis.

Here’s a quick and current list for everything canceled and still on.


Sertoma Club of Laurel’s annual Christmas Parade - Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.

With the pancake breakfast canceled, the parade will now take its usual downtown route at night on Friday, Dec. 4. The last time the event was scheduled at night was the 1990s, and people have asked for it again since. Steve Thrash of the Sertoma Club of Laurel said that float riders and attendees will be encouraged to socially distance themselves and wear masks.

This year’s theme is “light shining through darkness,” an obvious nod to the overwhelming COVID-19 pandemic. It’s appropriate in the wake of several event cancellations in the area. The Grand Marshal this year will be all of our local medical workers, including EMTs.

Landrum’s Christmas Candelight Tour - Dec. 5

Santa won’t be showing up for this old-fashioned celebration due to COVID, of course, but Christmas lights will turn on at 4:30 p.m. that Saturday with the village open from 9 a.m. Attendees can enjoy the tour, holiday music, food from the Smokehouse, wagon rides, hot chocolate and an assortment of other attractions. Admission is $10 at the door with children under 3 entering at no charge.

Community Bank’s Ellisville Christmas Tree Lighting, Date unconfirmed

The tree-lighting usually set for the Friday preceding the city’s parade is still on, but its date hasn’t been discussed or published. It was discussed at last Tuesday’s regular Board of Aldermen meeting that the event will be drive-through only. The city itself will be hands-off with this Community Bank-sponsored event, as it was with the drive-through Trunk-or-Treat last month.

Laurel Christmas Tree Lighting, Dec. 3

Still set for 5:30 p.m. at Pinehurst Park, it isn’t quite the season until the City Beautiful shares its annual tree lighting with the community. The event is sponsored by BancorpSouth, the City of Laurel and Laurel Main Street. Last year, the free event drew scores of onlookers, so getting there early is a good idea.

Downtown Countdown, Dec. 31

The City of Laurel will end the turbulent year its own way with the once-canceled Downtown Countdown put on by Laurel Main Street. Mayor Johnny Magee confirmed last month that the event was picked back up. Laurel Main Street resubmitted its request, and city council members reversed their decision 4-1. “I am glad that the committee listened to the wishes of the people who are sponsoring the event,” Magee said.

This event will be the last for Laurel Main Street executive director Judi Holifield after she spent the better part of a decade helming the nonprofit.


-Kiwanis Club’s annual pancake breakfast

Originally set for Saturday, Dec. 5, the breakfast at the YWCO and First Baptist Church is usually scheduled in tandem with the Sertoma Club of Laurel’s Christmas parade. People got some food and picked their spot in line that morning. But the Kiwanis canceled in early October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event funds college scholarships for high school seniors at Laurel Christian, Laurel, Northeast Jones, South Jones and West Jones high schools.

Ellisville Christmas Parade

The City of Ellisville canceled its annual Christmas parade last week due to COVID-19, which reflects their course of action for previous events like a Back the Blue rally canceled in August. 

The event last year was Dec. 4, and it was set for Dec. 5 this year.

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