Downtown tree should arrive next week

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 26, 1999

In just a few days, Natchez’s downtown Christmas tree will beckon in the 1999 holiday season.

Alan Perkins, of WQNZ, said the tree will be in its traditional spot — the intersection of Main and Commerce streets — by Tuesday.

&uot;Christmas belongs to everybody,&uot;&160;Perkins said. &uot;We want to make sure we have a tree every year, and we want to make sure we have something nice.&uot;

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This year, a donation from Earl Drane’s former Christmas Tree Farm is the &uot;something nice&uot; the organizers were looking for.

The group will pick from one of two pine trees on Drane’s lot, Perkins said.

The trees are between 25 to 30 feet tall and slightly smaller than past Natchez Christmas trees, Perkins said.

But since they are pines, they may fit the season better than the cedars the city has used in the past.

&uot;It looks more like a Christmas tree,&uot; Perkins said.

And quality cedar trees are difficult to locate, he said.

&uot;Cedars are hard to find, and it’s been so very dry, a lot of the cedars are kind of yellowish.&uot; Perkins said.

International Paper’s Woodland Division located this year’s trees. Pickett Industries and Entergy will help transport the tree and place it downtown. At 5:30 p.m. Friday, the city will kick off the Christmas season with a ceremony at the tree. The event will include music, refreshments, said Tammy Mullins executive director of the Natchez Downtown Development Association.

Santa Claus will make his first appearance of the year at this event and children are encouraged to bring their letters for Santa.

&uot;I think it will be fun — kind of a new little ritual to start,&uot;&160;Mullins said.

The radio station and the Kiwanis club are in the process of raising money for the tree.

They have already raised more than $1,500. Some of this money pays for the cost of setting up the tree and new decorations. A portion is given to charity, Perkins said.

Even though the radio station has set a $10,000 goal that amount is not actually needed this year.

&uot;We are trying to get that fund up to $10,000, so we don’t deplete the fund every year,&uot; Perkins said.

By next year, the radio station wants to start asking the community to sponsor new ornaments for the tree.

&uot;It’s a very nice way to have a pretty tree and have other people participate,&uot; Perkins said. &uot;It’s everybody’s tree.&uot;