Photo illustration by Ben Hillyer
Photo illustration by Ben Hillyer

Natchez getting ready for Christmas

Published 12:01am Wednesday, November 13, 2013

With green wreaths already on light poles and garland strung across Main Street, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Natchez.

And the staple of downtown decorations — the Main Street Christmas tree — is getting a bit of a makeover this year.

Christmas in Natchez Committee Co-chair Regina Charboneau said the committee purchased ornaments for the tree, which will replace the red bows that have donned the tree in the past.

Red, green, blue, gold and silver ball-shaped ornaments will cover the tree, which will be topped with a big red bow with ribbon draping down the tree, Charboneau said.

“Ornaments have been on our wish list for years,” she said. “We have been reinvesting in making downtown look better. Each year, we have a goal of doing something.”

The ornaments were made possible, Charboneau said, through donations from community members and organizations.

The committee hopes, Charboneau said that every year, the downtown decorations motivate shop owners to decorate their stores.

“We want to create that enthusiasm with downtown merchants to decorate, so when visitors come to Natchez, it really looks like a winter wonderland,” she said.

All the downtown Christmas cheer should put locals in the mood for the full calendar of Christmas events this year, Charboneau said.

Christmas in Natchez will kick off Nov. 29 with fifth annual turkey gumbo cook-off and the lighting of the Christmas tree.

Gumbo teams are still needed for the cook-off, Charboneau said, and anyone interested can contact her at 601-445-0338.

The event will also include a children’s fun fair and holiday music.

The fair will begin at 4 p.m., followed by the cook-off at 5 p.m. and the tree lighting at 7 p.m.

Ice-skating will return to the bluff this year from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Tickets are $20 for one hour of skating.

The committee is also selling sponsorships for tickets to be donated to the Natchez Children’s Home and Pleasant Acre Day School. Anyone interested in purchasing the $200 sponsorships can contact Charboneau.

Sponsorships will also make it possible, Charboneau said, for the committee to offer families three children’s skating tickets for the price of two.

The committee is also hosting a cheerleading competition for middle and high school teams during the ice-skating weekend, Charboneau said.

“Ice-skating covers one age group, and cheerleading another,” Charboneau said. “They’re both fun activities, and you can make it a family day. We really want to get more community involvement down there, and the more there is going on down there, the more people that will come out.”

The goal of all the events, Charboneau said, is to make celebrating Christmas in Natchez a community activity everyone can enjoy.

Many of the events, especially those in local residents’ homes, would not be possible without the generosity of those looking to make Christmas a special time in Natchez, Charboneau said.

“Christmas is such a joyous time of year,” Charboneau said. “I think it’s the spirit that everyone shares.”