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Hundreds turnout for Natchez Christmas tree lighting Saturday night

NATCHEZ — Hundreds of people turned out in downtown Natchez Saturday night to take part in the annual lighting of the Natchez Christmas tree.

Volunteers wearing facial masks carried signs reminding people to wear a mask and to maintain social distance of at least six feet as Tony Fields sang Christmas favorites including “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and “Mary Did You Know” to the keyboard accompaniment of Kejaun Hawkins.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson gave some remarks as city worker Dustin Hinkle filmed the event for a live Facebook feed.

“Our prayers go out to those who couldn’t be here tonight,” Gibson said. “This virus has been a challenge to say the least, and it has affected many in our community.”

Gibson encouraged attendees to keep hospital staffers, health care workers and first responders who are exhausted from working through the COVID-19 pandemic in their thoughts and prayers.

“Over the past few days, we have seen our numbers going up, so we as a people need to be responsible,” Gibson said. “We need to do the right thing. We need to be grateful that our economy is open and we need to continue to do the right thing so that we can stay open in Natchez and be social and in this Christmas season be festive.”

Gibson said Christmas is a season of cheer and goodwill and also a season of being kind to one another before leading a countdown to light the Christmas tree to the cheers of spectators.

Natchez will hold a Christmas parade on at 6 p.m. Dec. 5.

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