Visitors enjoy sights and sounds at annual Copper Magnolia Festival

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 21, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; More than 800 visitors turned out under sunny skies Saturday to enjoy the 21st annual Copper Magnolia Festival at historic Jefferson College.

Sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the event offered food, music and crafts under sprawling live oaks on the 200-year-old campus.

Walthall County residents Aubrey and Jeraldine Ratliff sat at a picnic table to enjoy a bowl of home-made ice cream that one vendor was serving.

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&uot;I make it at home about twice a year. Aubrey would eat it every day if he could,&uot; Jeraldine said.

Other visitors strolled past booths inspecting hand-made jewelry, porch furniture and collectibles while local singer-songwriter Maggie Brown performed for the crowd.

This year’s festival was a little larger than in previous years, said park historian Anne Gray.

&uot;We’ve got more vendors than we normally do, and the attendance is a little above last year,&uot; she said.

Natchez vendors Mac and Patti Blackwood said sales of their Myrtle Grove Farms jams, honey and coffee mixes were brisk.

‘We’ve been coming for five years, and this year has been great. We’ve sold more than ever,&uot; Patti said.

Vidalia, La., resident Artimease Embry has been selling her crocheted animals at the festival since its inception in 1982.

&uot;Every year I say I’m not going to come, but I end up coming. It’s my hobby, and I really enjoy it,&uot; she said.

Elsewhere, a cakewalk benefited the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a red, white and blue quilt was raffled to raise money for needy veterans.

At one booth a local coin collector sold buffalo nickels that were found after being buried in Adams County for 55 years.

&uot;They were probably buried right after Pearl Harbor. The most recent ones were minted in January 1942,&uot; he said.