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Weekend Ticket: Festival fun awaits for holiday

 

NATCHEZ — The people of the Miss-Lou have two opportunities to celebrate the Fourth of July this week without venturing too far from home.

Both events are open to the public and free to attend, organizers said.

The first is the Third Annual Fourth of July Festival this Thursday, followed by the 27th Annual Lake St. John Flotilla, a parade of boats, the following Saturday.

The Fourth of July Festival, created by the Vidalia Beautification Committee, lasts from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday on the Vidalia Riverfront, beginning with a flag-raising ceremony on top of a Vidalia Fire Department truck and a firework show finale on the Mississippi River just after dark, said committee spokesperson, Sabrina Doré.

The festival site hosts 40 different food, beverage and craft vendors as well as an array of entertainers including musicians, dancers and baton twirlers among others, Doré said.

Prizes and giveaways would also be distributed to select festival attendees and lucky winners of patriotic dress-up competitions for both people and pets of all ages that are both judged by the crowd, so “bring your cheering squad,” Doré said.

The Fourth of July fun continues into the weekend during the Lake St. John Flotilla, which begins at 2 p.m. Saturday and concludes with a firework show at 9 p.m. on Lake St. John, said flotilla chairman, Donna Maroon.

During the Flotilla, which is a local favorite tradition on Lake St. John where boats that are both decorated and undecorated — some adorned with patriotic themed décor and others with unusual or often humorous displays — set sail and parade around the lake for a chance to win cash prizes or the most coveted large life ring as their trophy, Maroon said.

This year, Concordia Parish Sheriff Kenneth Hedrick and Grand Marshal Richard Prescott will lead the fleet around the lake, Maroon said.

Boats both small and large may be registered for the parade from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday for a fee of $10 per vessel, Maroon said, adding boats must be registered to be eligible for prizes.

Flotilla T-shirts and large lake flags are available for purchase at Lake St. John Grocery, Ramey’s and Spokane Resort, Maroon said, adding all proceeds contribute to upkeep and maintenance on Lake St. John and help fund next year’s festivities. Youth-sized T-shirts are $15 each, adult sizes are $20 each, tank tops are $25 each and flags are $70 each, Maroon said.

“People enjoy the decorated floats,” Maroon said. “It’s really just a great way to get everyone together, even though the Fourth of July is on a Thursday. It kind of makes for a long holiday weekend. Something draws people to the lake … and everyone looks forward to it.”

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