Get ready for second line after parade

Published 1:51 am Thursday, February 8, 2018

by Sabrina Simms

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Festival of Music volunteers bedazzled, beaded and feathered up their umbrellas in preparation for Friday night’s second line event after the Krewe Of Phoenix Mardi Gras parade.

Festival marketing committee member T.J. Baggett said the second line, which will follow the parade, will be headed by the Bayou Brass Band.

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The group’s Krewe of Jesters invites parade participants to carry group signs and dress up for contests, including best umbrella, best hat, best pet and best strut. Participants have the chance to win festival event tickets, including tickets to see Mac McAnally, Baggett said. Beads will be thrown with event cards attached that might have winning ticket numbers.

“Don’t forget to check your beads,” Baggett said.

Baggett said she hopes the Krewe of Jesters will introduce a younger generation to festival events. The krewe will follow behind the brass band, accompanied by a group of Natchez children called “The Wild Cards.”

“We are certainly doing our part to include the younger generation. It’s our job to educate the younger generation. One thing that (the festival) does is a community outreach,” Baggett said.

Baggett said the second line is meant to become an annual event.

“The first year is always the hardest,” Baggett said, “The Natchez Festival of Music has grown to include all genres of music, and marching in the parade is a way of showing this diversity and inclusion.”

The Bayou Brass Band will perform a grand finale at the intersection of Commerce and Franklin streets. Baggett said renowned artist Kimble Funchess would join in and later perform during the VIP party at Rolling River Bistro after the parade.

To obtain VIP membership, participants must either purchase two tickets to the benefit dinner and show that will take place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 17 at the Carriage House Restaurant for $75 per person, or purchase a main stage event package or four individual main stage tickets for $125 total.

Main stage shows to the May festival include country artist McAnally, Faust, A Little Night Music, British Invasion of Natchez II, Havana Nights and A Night in the Big Easy. The benefit dinner and show include a meal and a preview this season’s music, featuring Maryann Kyle and Corey Tran, as well as a silent and live art auction.

Baggett said she thinks the second line has excellent potential for the Natchez and the local economy.

“It is important to the fabric of our cultural tourism, but first it starts with us. It’s about celebrating ourselves and our town,” Baggett said. “We hope someday that groups from out of town will come to march in the second line and celebrate Mardi Gras, Natchez style.”