Participate in welcoming the world

Published 11:36 pm Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Most Natchezians are aware that this thing called Pilgrimage has been going on for quite a while. Some may even recall that the first Pilgrimage occurred in the Spring of 1932.The keenest observer will remember that just this past Spring of 2007, we all celebrated the 75th anniversary of what has become known regionally, nationally and internationally as The Natchez Spring Pilgrimage.

But what has totally slipped on all of us is that the Fall Pilgrimage that starts this Saturday, Sept. 29, first began in the fall of 1977. Heavenly hoopskirts, I mean to tell you that this is the 30th anniversary of the Natchez Fall Pilgrimage.

Ah yes, 1977, most of you were around then but for those of you that weren’t … read on.

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1977 was the year that:

4 President Jimmy Carter pardoned 10,000 Vietnam War era draft evaders

4 NBA champs: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Philadelphia 76ers: 4 – 2

4 NCAA Football: Notre Dame record 11-1-0 (wow…what happened)

4 Heisman trophy: Earl Campbell, Texas (a real bruiser)

4Chick Graning finally graduates from Georgia Tech (actually he still plays for them…. No. 26.)

4Super Bowl XI: Oakland Raiders vs. Minnesota Vikings 32-14

4U.S. Open Golf : Hubert Green

4World Series: New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 (last week Alex Rodriquez bought South America with his bonus money)

4Popular movies: Star Wars and Rocky

4Most popular book — fiction: “The Silmarillion” by J.R.R. Tolkien; non-fiction: “Roots” by Alex Haley

4Most Popular TV Shows: Laverne & Shirley and Happy Days

4Miss America: Dorothy Benham — Minnesota

Fast forward to the present and my mind goes blank. I don’t know who’s Miss America. The TV shows are a mystery, in that they all seem so real. Notre Dame is 0 and 4 and the Pope is beside himself. Chick Graning continues his post graduate studies, and I just don’t understand any of the music — at least that’s what they call it.

But amid all of this flurry of change in the universe, we can use Fall Pilgrimage as our gyroscope to maintain our balance. The world is again invited to come to Natchez where they will be graciously received by period-attired hostesses into our antebellum homes. Private homes such as the Governor Holmes House, Routhland, The Burn, Wigwam, Selma, Brandon Hall, Bontura, Glenfield, Linden, Airlie, Green Leaves and Gloucester are homes that are normally not open during the year and now is the time for you to meet the owners and let them tell you a little history. The mansions being preserved by various dedicated groups such as: Longwood, Stanton Hall, Magnolia Hall, The House on Ellicott’s Hill, Auburn and Rosalie provide an opportunity to view architecture and furnishings rarely seen in such a concentrated area. A glimpse into our past will help to guide where we need to go in the future.

One of the best evenings of the year can be spent as you go to the Carriage House Restaurant and enjoy a Southern-style meal with entertainment by Amos Polk’s Voices of Hope Spiritual Singers. I encourage everyone reading this to spend an evening with this wonderful group of singers.

The Natchez Little Theatre will be presenting the always-popular Mississippi Medicine Show. If you need “laughing” and “toe tapping” The Natchez Little Theatre will fill your prescription of patent medicine.

The whole economy of Natchez benefits from the people that Fall Pilgrimage brings into our town but I would like to especially thank those businesses that place ads in the Fall Brochure: As You Like It, Audubon Gallery, Mrs. Holder’s Antiques, Old South Trading Post, Old South Winery, Pamper Me Please Salon and Day Spa, Turning Pages Books and More, Bowie’s Tavern, Cock Of The Walk, The Castle Restaurant and Pub, King’s Tavern Restaurant and Lounge, Monmouth Plantation, Natchez Coffee & Co. and Sandbar Restaurant plus Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Day’s Inn, the Natchez Eola and candlelight dinners at Magnolia Hall.

As manager of Natchez Pilgrimage Tours I encourage everyone to participate in all of the events occurring in Natchez during the month of October including: Fall Pilgrimage (Sept. 29 – Oct.13), Art and Soul (Oct. 5 – 6), Kayak Race (Oct. 12 – 13), Balloon Race (Oct. 19 – 21) and Halloween at Longwood (Oct. 27). What a great month.

For all your Fall Pilgrimage Information call Natchez Pilgrimage Tours at 601-446-6631

Dr. Jim Coy is Manager Natchez Pilgrimage Tours.