City birthday calendar filling up
NATCHEZ — The Bluff City’s big birthday is less than a year away, and the Natchez Tricentennial Commission is buzzing with a year’s worth of events — literally.
Commission members met Thursday to give an update on planning progress for the city’s Tricentennial celebration.
Jennifer Ogden Combs, executive director of the Natchez Tricentennial Commission, said the main focus of the celebration will be to foster community in the Miss-Lou.
“Community is the heart and soul of our Tricentennial year,” Combs said. “We want to celebrate who we are today, and where we’re going tomorrow.”
Still finalizing the 2016 calendar, Combs said the commission has been working hard to incorporate a variety of events that will appeal to a wide age range.
And, surprisingly, Combs said it hasn’t been difficult to overflow the 2016 calendar with events.
Between food, music and the arts, the yearlong celebration will incorporate “a little bit of everything,” she said.
One event recently added to the Tricentennial agenda, which Combs said she is especially excited about, is a daily “Natchez History Minute.”
Each day, Combs said, a community member will deliver a historical fact about Natchez.
“It could be a community leader, a student, a senior citizen — anyone,” Combs said. “We want the community to feel a sense of ownership over the Tricentennial, and that way we can foster community pride.”
Where the “minute” will be broadcasted is to be determined.
“We’re hoping to set up kiosks downtown where visitors and community members can stop by and listen to the ‘minute’ every day,” Combs said.
Kevin Kirby, Natchez director of tourism, shared Combs’s excitement and said the tourism department plans to carry over successful events from the Tricentennial into the city’s regular calendar year.
“We don’t want this to end after 2016,” Kirby said. “We want the celebration to continue.”
Leading up to the Tricentennial, the commission will host several events to encourage participation for the city’s big birthday.
On March 25, Wednesday, Tennessee preservationist Aubrey Preston will speak at the Natchez Convention Center about plans for the American Music Triangle — an idea that incorporates Natchez as part of the birthplace of nine music genres. The event is free to attend and will be hosted in two sessions — one at 9 a.m. and another at 3 p.m.
“I’m excited about the partnerships that are developing to make these events happen,” Combs said.
And while countless events are in the works, Combs said there are still areas in Tricentennial planning that need extra hands.
Currently, the commission has several committees that are in need of members — education, marketing and publicity, music, and fundraising, to name a few.
“Some of the things on the calendar may fall off, some may be added — and I’m OK with that,” Combs said. “We just want the community to hone in on their ideas and create a comprehensive platform.”
For more information on the Tricentennial, visit natchez300.com or visitnatchez.org. Combs also encouraged residents to interact with Tricentennial planning by using hashtags “natchez300” and “visitnatchez.”
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