Holidays packed with exciting public events

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 7, 2001

NATCHEZ – Natchez will celebrate a Victorian-style Christmas this weekend, complete with candlelight house tours and &uot;A Dickens Christmas&uot; parade.

The weekend’s events will start at 5:30 p.m. today with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree on Main Street.

Choirs from Holy Family Catholic Church and Jefferson Street United Methodist Church, and the singing group The Taffetas, will sing holiday carols at the event.

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Santa Claus will make an appearance – as will Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith, who will proclaim the beginning of the holidays.

&uot;This (event) officially marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Natchez,&uot; said Tammi Mullins, executive director of the Natchez Downtown Development Association.

From 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the Union Street Station restaurant will hold its third annual Breakfast with Santa.

Last year, children armed with their Christmas lists attended the event along with their parents and grandparents.

Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Christmas trees decorated with handmade ornaments made by fifth graders from seven schools will be on display at Historic Jefferson College.

&uot;What makes it Victorian is that they make all the decorations themselves, because it Victorian times they didn’t buy a lot of ornaments,&uot; said Anne Gray, historian II at Historic Jefferson College.

The exhibit will be open free to the public through Dec. 26, excluding Dec 24-25. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, the antebellum houses Melrose, Rosalie and Dunleith will be open for a Victorian Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes.

And the Natchez Christmas parade, themed &uot;A Dickens Christmas,&uot; will have a Victorian touch of its own.

Along with the familiar floats and marching groups of years past – about 60 entries in all as of Thursday – this year’s parade, which starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, will feature the Victorian Strollers. Natchezian of the Year Andrew Calvit will serve as grand marshal.