Festivals abound this weekend

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2008

NATCHEZ — Every house should be empty this weekend with the plethora of activities taking place in the Miss-Lou.

Cathedral Fall Festival and the Natchez Children’s Home Services/Cellular South Chili Cook-off are both scheduled.

First Friday activities and Fall Pilgrimage events are also taking place beginning on Friday.

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Cathedral Fall Festival, in its 161st year, is Cathedral School’s largest fundraiser, and the schedule is jam-packed. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday when the midway opens with children’s games, pony rides, cake walk and more.

Emily White, co-chairman of this year’s festival, said the schedule of events offers something for everyone.

“It is a fun family weekend,” she said. “There is something for all ages.”

Running concurrently with the midway will be the silent auctions. Each class, K-3 through eighth grade, compiles a theme basket that is auctioned off during the festival.

“They are called baskets, but they are actually huge,” White said.

This year, according to White, the baskets are better than ever. The eighth grade basket is Super Bowl themed, and comes complete with an autographed Eli Manning football.

The fun continues Saturday afternoon with the adult paddle wheel night beginning with a 6 p.m. dinner. The auction will get under way at 7 p.m.

The action starts up again on Sunday with midway games and drawings for raffle prizes. The big ticket item for this year’s raffle is a Bad Boy Buggy.

“We’ve never raffled off anything that big,” White said.

Don’t get too caught up in the action at the fall festival because the Natchez Children’s Home Services/Cellular South Chili Cook-off is happening at the same time in downtown Natchez.

This year’s event was taken to a whole new level when the cook-off became a International Chili Society sanctioned event.

Joe Mitchell, director of development for Natchez Children’s Home Services said the fact that the event is now sanctioned has brought teams from Memphis and Gonzales, La., to the cook-off.

“People who take chili cooking really serious come to (sanctioned) events,” Mitchell said. “It brings a whole new level of excitement.”

Mitchell said there are still plenty of local teams completing along side the professionals.

Attendees will have the chance to sample the recipes by purchasing a $5 tasting kit. With the kit comes a vote for the coveted “People’s Choice” award.

Festivities will kick off on tonight with a street dance on Broadway. All the money raised at the event will benefit Children’s Home Services.

“That’s why the teams participate,” Mitchell said. “Because every dollar that is raised goes to Natchez Children’s Home Services.”