Natchez tree lighting kicks off holiday season for locals

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 6, 2008

NATCHEZ — With the weather to match, the holiday spirit has hit Natchez.

Children running around in puffy coats were stopped in their tracks as the countdown to light the Natchez Christmas tree began.

The chorus of voices grew in decibel as the numbers got smaller and the lighting drew closer.

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And finally, the tree snapped to life with tiny colored lights and the crowd cheered and clapped.

For some, the lighting of the tree starts off the holiday season for them.

Natchez resident Hyram Burkes said that’s the reason he came out in the cold Friday evening.

“It’s to get in the Christmas spirit,” he said.

A Christmas tree lighting veteran, Burkes wanted to share the moment with his family and dog.

Sharon Smith bundled up in a long jacket and hat to brave the chilly air for a dose of Christmas spirit.

“I love the small town effect, I love Christmas and this is wonderful,” she said.

Though the weather was in the low 40s, Smith said the short walk from their downtown residence was worth it.

Geraldine Brown, a teacher at West Primary, said she came to the event to “hear the children sing.”

Musical numbers were performed by the Natchez High Chamber Choir, Frazier Primary School and the cast of The Natchez Little Theatre’s “A Natchez Christmas Carol.”

She also said she enjoys seeing the lighting of the tree.

“The Christmas spirit comes alive,” she said of the lighting.

Continuing in the downtown Christmas events, the parade will be at 6 p.m. today.

The parade route begins at Rosalie and will travel down Canal Street to Main Street and take a right.

It will continue on Main Street until turning left on Rankin Street where it will then cross over to Franklin Street.

It will make it’s way down Franklin, finally ending at Callon Petroleum.