Annual Fall Pilgrimage starts Saturday

Published 12:21 am Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What’s been around for 30 years is still new to some.

As Fall Pilgrimage in Natchez celebrates its 30th anniversary, the folks at The Wigwam have an anniversary of their own to commemorate — their first.

Joe and Cindy Meng opened their house for tours this time last year, along with two other new houses The Burn and the Governor Holmes House.

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Cindy Meng lived in The Wigwam as a child, but left Natchez for a time after that.

“There was just kind of a void there for many years,” Meng said. “Last year was our first year (touring) and I really enjoyed it.”

Meng and other homeowners are spending this week on finishing touches before the Pilgrimage start Saturday.

“This is an opportunity to get everything organized,” Meng said. “Doing something like (being on tour) forces you to organize, replace light bulbs and do the things you normally put off.”

The Mengs have six children, so the house is “truly lived in,” she said.

But Meng said she feels a sense of obligation to open her house to the waves of tourists who will soon come through.

“It’s a way to give back,” she said. “Natchez relies on tourism. We are fortunate enough to live in this house, we can open it for tours.”

The Wigwam will be one of the first houses on tour this year, opening Saturday.

Fall Pilgrimage will run for two weeks, ending on Oct. 13.

Natchez Pilgrimage Tours Director Jim Coy said the city will have to rely on individual tours to have a good season.

Group tours have been down since Katrina, and are still not back to speed, he said.

“On the positive side, this has made us try to convince the world that Natchez in and of itself can be a destination,” Coy said. “You can spend a week here and do something different every day.”

Coy said his office tries to market Pilgrimage to visitors who can drive over in a day.

The success of individual tours depend on the weather, though.

Pilgrimage also includes several options for nighttime entertainment including:

4Amos Polk’s Voices of Hope Spiritual Singers — A traditional plantation dinner precludes a stirring performance of gospel music. The world-famous Carriage House Restaurant is the setting for this excellent show. Dinner begins at 6:45 p.m., and the performance starts at 8.

Tickets for Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evening performances are $31 each, and includes dinner.

4Mississippi Medicine Show — A unique variety show featuring the music of Stephen Foster, Jerome Kern and Roger Miller, plus spirituals, Civil War songs and the wit and wisdom of Mark Twain.

Performed at Natchez Little Theatre, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 each.