Natchez Pilgrimage Tours to ready troops

Published 12:12 am Monday, March 5, 2012

NATCHEZ — Natchez Pilgrimage Tours is hosting a meeting Thursday to prepare Spring Pilgrimage participants, tourism business owners and the general public for the stream of tourists expected to come through town during the annual celebration.

Spring Pilgrimage begins Saturday, and Natchez Pilgrimage Tours Executive Director Marsha Colson said the meeting would focus on giving people information about what will be going on in the next six weeks so they can direct tourists to the various events around town.

Colson said the general public is welcome at the meeting, and she said it is targeted at people who are likely to have contact with tourists during Pilgrimage.

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Colson said she knows a lot of people in town do not tour houses during Pilgrimage or have not toured houses in a long time. She said she believes that if more people are informed of what is going on around town during Pilgrimage, they can be more helpful to tourists.

“Most importantly, I think if everybody involved in tourism or the general public has a better understanding of what’s going on, they will be more helpful to people and can let people know what there is to do in town, whether it’s related to Pilgrimage or not.”

Whether or not the meeting causes tourists to tour more houses during Pilgrimage doesn’t matter, Colson said. She said the important thing is that people are informed.

“If people come here and they found people welcoming and more knowledgeable about things to do in Natchez during this time, I believe they would spread the word about Natchez when they go house,” she said.

The meeting, which is at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center, will focus a lot on Spring Pilgrimage’s evening entertainment, houses that are on tour and general information about other tourist attractions and events.

Colson said large posters promoting events and tickets for Spring Pilgrimage will be on display in the lobby of the visitor’s center so people can get a visual representation of the variety of events for tourists.

Colson said Natchez Pilgrimage Tours is hoping to have a few costumed Pilgrimage tour guides on the street during this year’s festivities as well.

The idea of the “Pilgrimage Promenaders” came from a garden club member, Colson said. She said the idea is to have a few people dressed in period costumes on the street a couple of days a week during Pilgrimage to direct tourists to the various houses and events.

Volunteers who wish to be a Pilgrimage Promenader can call Natchez Pilgrimage Tours at 601-446-6631. People wishing to attend to the informational meeting should meet in the lobby of the Natchez Visitor Reception Center at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Colson said the promenaders will not be formally scheduled or planned, and she said she invites anyone with period attire to take to the streets to greet visitors.

“It’s little acts on our part, but they’re so big in the impression that they make and experience our visitors have,” she said. “Anything we can do to make the visitor’s experience richer and more pleasant is good for us.”