Santa came to Natchez early this year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. With a full sleigh Santa Claus and a cadre of helpers arrived early in Natchez. Santa and volunteer helpers transformed downtown Natchez.

The traditional Christmas tree at the intersection of Main and Commerce streets is bedecked in red bows for daylight and sparkling colored lights for nighttime. The stately tree stands in a magnificent drum, which evokes childhood memories of small drums left by Santa under trees in years past.

Green wreaths with red bows and berries and tagged with names of donors hang sturdily on light posts.

Email newsletter signup

Green garlands stretch gracefully across some blocks of Main and Franklin streets.

Holiday scenes delight both children and adults alike on the Natchez bluff. Part of the International Paper Company display in enhanced by free-standing figures and lighted garlands along the fence.

Santa and helpers also planned a variety of events and entertainment for residents and tourists.

4For music lovers — nightly concerts by many groups at the Christmas tree, carols at Callon Company, caroling in Memorial Park, musical performances at historic sites and local churches.

4For theater-goers — “A Natchez Christmas Carol” and “Peter and the Wolf,” a puppet show.

4For tourists — ghost tours, candlelight house and church tours, and even a pub tour. For bibliophiles — book signings by local authors in downtown bookstores.

4For gourmands — teas and dinners in holiday settings.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa. Many know Santa as Ginger Hyland, who initiated the 2009 Christmas in Natchez. Visible on the streets of downtown, she collected money for decorations and assisted in putting them in place. Her vision and leadership inspired a large number of volunteers who gave generously on their time, talent and resources.

Special thanks to Ginger and her numerous helpers — the steering committee, the donors of the wreaths and garlands, individuals, businesses, organizations and churches for multiple roles, city employees for services, residents for decorating homes and yards and two talented gentlemen for artistic contributions.

Danny Smith and his construction crew crafted the large drum. Mike Lomasney single handedly refurbished the old International Paper Company display.

Participating in events and shopping in local stores will surely bring Santa and helpers back to Natchez in 2010!

Mary Eidt is a Natchez resident.