The Pike County Courthouse came to life Friday evening with lights, music and cheer at a Christmas lighting ceremony.

The event kicked off around 4 p.m. with songs by the Jubilee Performing Arts Center Choir. During a break in their concert, emcee Gina Mitchell presented a plaque to Nancy Norris in memory of her late husband Delton, to whom the event was dedicated.

Norris, who died Aug. 31 at age 62, was a longtime courthouse employee who played guitar and handled the sound system at courthouse events.

“He was our go-to man when anything, I mean anything, went wrong with our computers,” Mitchell said. “He was also gifted and talented in music.”

After JPAC concluded its performance, school director Terrance Alexander spoke briefly to the crowd about the turmoil he’s experienced since his downtown McComb building collapsed in July.

Alexander said he’s depending on God to see him through.

He said he’s been invited to open schools in other towns and states but plans to stay in Pike County and keep JPAC going.

“This is the community we love,” he said. “This is where our heart lies.”

Classes are now being held in an undisclosed location.

“We will announce our location very soon,” Alexander said. “It’s been a very interesting four months with the collapse of our building.”

After the concert, courthouse employees and friends served free food and drinks — homemade jambalaya, red beans and rice, cookies, hot chocolate, apple cider and more.

For the lighting, Mitchell counted to 10, then several people in and around the courthouse plugged in lights. The courthouse building came alive with white lights, while colored strands lit up a 20-foot Christmas tree and surrounding shrubs.

Dogwood Cross provided bluegrass-gospel music, and crowds lined the curb for the Magnolia Christmas parade.

Mitchell, a deputy circuit clerk, said she hopes the lighting ceremony will be an annual event.

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