All invited to celebrate birthday

Published 12:01 am Sunday, July 26, 2015

In 2016, the City of Natchez will be commemorating the past, celebrating the present, and creating the future as it observes its 300th anniversary.

On Monday, Aug. 3, Natchez is having a community kick-off where the Tricentennial Commission will be sharing some of the plans for 2016, selling 3C license tags and t-shirts, and enjoying music, cupcakes, and some cool beverages. If all 300 license plates are sold, there will be a drawing for a $300 gas card.

Next year’s yearlong series of events will kick off with New Year’s Eve celebrations the last week of December 2015. Long-standing events will be bigger and better.

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The Natchez National Historical Park is planning new flagship events, including a genealogy weekend, golf tournaments, a heritage holiday parade, music festivals, and the grand opening of the Fort Rosalie site. Local, state and federal officials will be invited to festivities throughout the year. The ambassadors of France, Spain, and Britain — countries whose flags have flown over our historic city — will be receiving invitations as well.

At the Aug. 3 kick off, members of several of the Tricentennial working committees will be there to discuss some of the events and projects planned for 2016.

The Arts Committee, chaired by Connie Burns with co-chair Sue Burkhalter, has plans for eight or nine events that include art in the schools, downtown empty windows project, Music at the Mounds with Art & Soul, the Natchez mural at the steamboat docking site, children’s art activities and Natchez Artists’ Show & Sell.

The Ethnic and Social History Committee, co-chaired by Betty Cade and Kathleen Jenkins, has been working since the inception of the Tricentennial on events like Natchez Stories, a weekly evening talk by local citizens on a myriad of Natchez topics; Tea & Tombstones, a tour of Natchez-area private cemeteries; and the Natchez History Minute, a daily one-minute presentation by the Natchez National Historical Park of historical events and people given each of the 366 days of 2016 by just as many local citizens.

The Education Committee, chaired by Pam Plummer and Thelma Newsome, is planning a 2016 summer workshop for teachers presented by the National Park Service, teaching Natchez history to educators for the development of classroom curriculums to share history with students and encourage participation by all grade levels in creating programs, essay and art projects, and field trips to make Natchez history more meaningful and relevant to young people.

This may include a historical “treasure hunt,” field trips to historic sites, essay contests, a History Educator Award, Chocolate Milk Café, a literary forum for Natchez youths in conjunction with the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, and a 2016 event for children created by the Tricentennial Youth Council.

So, all are invited to celebrate Natchez’s 299th birthday this Aug. 3 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Natchez Visitor Center. Come have fun and learn what is in store for all of the Natchez community during Natchez’s 300th year in 2016.


Stratton Bull is chairman of the Tricentennial Executive Committee.