Party time: NGC annual Fall Bash is Thursday

Published 12:23 am Sunday, September 16, 2012

Katherine Callon, from left, Jennifer Slover, Katie-Grace Edgin, Amy Johnson and Jennie Guido are all co-chairs for the upcoming Natchez Garden Club Fall Bash at Bowie’s Tavern. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

The Natchez Garden Club’s Fall Bash isn’t exactly your mother’s tea party.

The sixth annual party, which raises funds for the preservation of the club’s historic properties, will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Barrel Room at Bowie’s Tavern.

Funds raised by the Fall Bash this year will go toward restoration at Magnolia Hall, which is in its second phase of restoration.

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The second phase includes exterior restoration of the historic property including windows, shutters and a fresh coat of paint. Phase one was completed last summer. The last phase will focus on the interior including carpet and furniture repair.

“Magnolia Hall has so much history, and it would be great to get it ready and have it open every day if the economy picks up,” NGC member Cheryl Rinehart said. “My wish is for us to get those houses back open, make them shine and be able to afford staffing them seven days a week like we used to do.”

The House on Ellicott Hill is another one of the club’s houses that Rinehart said — along with Magnolia Hall — helps play an important part in telling the history of Natchez.

“Between those two houses, you have one that began Natchez history and the last mansion built before the war,” Rinehart said. “It’s like the beginning and the end or the alpha and the omega of Natchez.”

In order to restore Magnolia Hall, the garden club hosts the annual Fall Bash, which co-chairman Jennifer Slover said is all about helping get a younger generation interested and involved.

“Our goal is to grow the garden club and the efforts of tourism in Natchez,” Slover said. “If we’re going to attract the younger crowd, we need to have more events that are comfortable and casual for them to attend.”

The event, Rinehart said, is geared toward attracting a younger audience — both for those attending and planning.

“After the third year, we thought it would be the perfect project to put into the hands of the younger members for organization and to help them understand the purpose of what our organization does,” Rinehart said. “I think it’s a wonderful project that the younger members can use to create a comradery, so the garden club isn’t a stuffy kind of activity only when you’re a certain age.

“It blends all the members together, no matter what age you are.”

With comfortable and casual in mind, Slover said there is no dress code for the party and that Miss-Lou residents are encouraged to come as they are. Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

The event will feature a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment and a silent auction.

Local vendors and artists will provide auction items, including:

A five-night getaway at the Adventura Mexicana Hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

A four-night retreat to Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Signed footballs by former National Football League players Brett Favre and Reggie Collier.

A halloween door wreath.

A weekend stay at Lake St. John at Callon Cottage.

A hunting weekend at Retirement Plantation.

Monthly flowers for a year from Moreton’s Flowerland.

A fitness package including a month-long membership to Perfect Fit and sessions with a personal trainer.

A T.G. McCary portrait gift certificate.

By raising funds to help restore a piece of Natchez history, Rinehart said the event collectively benefits the entire city.

“It’s important that we raise those restoration dollars and know that in the end its helping the whole city,” Rinehart said. “The people that come to town spend their money everywhere else.

“Everybody gets a piece of the pie.”

Advanced tickets for the Fall Bash can be purchased from the Natchez Garden Club office by calling 601-443-9065. Bidding for the silent auction begins at 6 p.m. and winners will be announced at 8 p.m.