Fall Pilgrimage home tours end today

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 10, 2009

NATCHEZ — The hoop skirts and period costumes will be put back in the closet by the end of today, but not before thousands of people have been to Natchez for Fall Pilgrimage.

Marsha Colson, director of Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, said this year’s numbers are higher than last year despite a weak economy.

Single ticket sales, sales to individual home tours, are up 11 percent and group tours are also up compared to last year.

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“The first four days were really great,” Colson said. “More than half of the days this year have beat last year, and we’ve had other days when the sales were about even.”

Colson said one group canceled because of illness.

That cancellation hurt the bottom line for group numbers, but sales are still higher than last year, Colson said.

Ticket sales are reported one day late, but Colson said Friday saw good sales.

“I think overall it has been a success,” Colson said. “Anytime in a questionable economy you can say you did better than last year, it has to be a success.”

Colson said statewide press coverage of the event helped sales.

“We had an article in two of the large papers on the coast, so I’m sure that helped bring in people from there,” she said.

Colson said Fall Pilgrimage is also helped by having evening activities such as concerts and plays.

This year Natchez Little Theatre is performing “Fauntleroy.” Performances continue through Sunday.

There is still a chance for Pilgrimage to be an even bigger success.

Tours continue today with morning tours at Magnolia Hall, Airlie and Routhland and afternoon tours at Green Leaves, Stone House, Oak Hill and Rip-Rap.

Morning tours begin at 9:30 a.m. and afternoon tours begin at 1:30 p.m.

Colson said Saturday tours are good ones for locals and tourists alike.

“They are all really interesting houses with different stories from a wide variety of periods,” Colson said. “I think that makes both of tomorrow’s tours appealing.”

Stanton Hall, Longwood, Rosalie, Melrose, Dunleith, Monmouth and The Towers are also open tomorrow.

Tickets can be purchased at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center on South Canal Street beginning at 8:30 a.m.

“Tomorrow would be a good day for people who haven’t been on tours in a while or have never been to get out and check out their town’s history.”