Pilgrimage Garden Club: No pilgrimage King, Queen, royal ball this year

Published 2:45 pm Wednesday, March 17, 2021

NATCHEZ — No queen or king shall reign over a 2021 Pilgrimage Garden Club royal court, Pilgrimage Garden President Eugenie Cates said Wednesday.

Honoring a royal court during Spring Pilgrimage has been a garden club tradition since the early 1930s.

Cates said the Pilgrimage Garden Club independently made the decision not to host a royal ball or name a court this year because of COVID-19.

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Natchez Garden Club president Donna Sessions confirmed Wednesday that the Natchez Garden Club will continue with its Magnolia Ball and naming of the king and queen and royal court for Spring Pilgrimage.

“We want to protect our members and their families and it is not, in our opinion, feasible to do anything this year,” Cates said. “We are very proud of our young ambassadors that do a lot of community service work for Natchez but this year we are unable to honor them. … It’s just not possible for us to get a big crowd together.”

Before COVID-19, Cates said the last time the Pilgrimage Garden Club did not have a king or queen was for three consecutive years during World War II in 1943, 1944 and 1945.

Cates said the 2020 and 2021 royal events were canceled while the Pilgrimage Garden Club continues fighting a battle against an enemy that cannot be seen.

“I guess the pandemic is going to go down like ‘the war years,’” Cates said.

Cates said it’s possible that the tradition of hosting a royal ball and court will be picked up again in 2022.