Expect to see more giant lighted snowflake ornaments decorating local Live Oak trees this holiday season – with the help of generous donors.
- by Maurice Singleton, photos by Ellis Anderson
In addition to individual purchases of snowflakes, Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast has agreed to match donations made toward the purchase of snowflakes to be hung on the Shoofly Oak.
“It’s only right that this historic oak be honored as part of the Snowflakes in the Bay,” said Tish Williams, Hancock County Chamber director. “It’s never had snowflakes. The Chamber has just moved into historic City Hall as our new office. Everything has been renovated and the shoofly structure itself has been restored.
“Our main focus [for the snowflake drive this year] is the Shoofly Oak,” said Williams. “Here it is behind Our Lady of the Gulf Church, on the way to the depot where the snowflakes originated, so it makes for a natural stop for Snowflakes in the Bay.
“There are others who want to donate and look at placing snowflakes in some other locations in the Bay, and we will work with them to meet their needs as best we can, based on logistics and working with the tourism office.”
The Hancock County Tourism Development Bureau began the program several years ago and expands the display each year.
Williams said that she has already received requests for the purchase of seven or eight snowflakes at the Shoofly Oak, and she hopes that other donors will come forward.
“We have a goal of about twenty snowflakes in that tree,” she added. “We’re encouraging others to step up and support this most historic tree in the Bay.
“It’s the perfect place,” said Williams. “It’s the shoofly at the historic City Hall which connects Old Town with the Depot District – which are both booming right now.”
Business owner Nikki Moon believes that adding more snowflakes to the many historical oaks in Bay St. Louis will boost tourism and the bottom lines of local businesses.
“When you arrive in Bay St. Louis, the first snowflakes you see are in the oaks at The Bay Town Inn,” said Moon. “Imagine how beautiful it would be if the homeowners along Beach Boulevard adorned their historic oaks with lighted snowflakes? It’d draw a lot of attention.
“The regional magazines would be featuring Bay St. Louis like they talk about Jones Park in Gulfport and Christmas in Natchitoches,” added Moon. “We want Bay St. Louis in there. We want them (shoppers) coming to Bay St. Louis on Thanksgiving weekend when we kick off the holiday season.”
The snowflakes are approximately 36 inches in diameter. The cost of a snowflake is $150. Snowflakes may be purchased at the Hancock County Chamber website at hancockchamber.org/snowflakes.
To designate a specific historic oak tree to hang snowflakes, contact Anne Pitre at 228-382-2086. The deadline to purchase snowflakes is July 1, 2022.
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