IP decorations shine once again in Natchez

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; The original Christmas decorations that graced the International Paper plant grounds for years will again shine brightly in Natchez.

Volunteers refurbished the wooden scenes earlier this year, and public works employees set up the wintry decorations on the bluffs along Broadway Street Tuesday.

This is the decorations&8217; debut after several years in storage, Public Works Director Ronny Ivey said, and he was glad to volunteer to help bring back memories and make new ones.

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&8220;It&8217;s something for the children,&8221; Ivey said. &8220;I saw them when I was small, and now I&8217;ve got kids and grandkids, I want them to remember they saw them when they were small.&8221;

The 12 scenes are at least 50 years old, he said, and they had needed work on the motors and a new coat of paint.

One set of scenes shows Santa Claus riding across Natchez, reindeer flying. In others, elves dance and Santa waves.

Ivey said he was using old pictures of the IP setups as a guide for this year&8217;s decorations.

He said he would light the scenes to test them Tuesday night, but that he would wait until Friday to light them for the season, synchronizing them with the town Christmas tree lighting.

The last time the decorations were on display was when the Isle of Capri casino opened, when they were lit Under-the-Hill, Ivey said. Since then, the scenes have been in storage, at least four years at the port, he said.

Ivey said the idea to break them out again started when people asked him about them.

Vidalia has since built their own replicas of the decorations, but the ones on the bluff are originals, he said.

After they are lit, people will be able to walk along and view them or drive down Broadway Street.