Efforts to revitalize Triangle continue with new monthly street markets. Residents invited to preview on Monday.
Published 4:35 pm Saturday, January 15, 2022
The inflatables may be gone, but efforts to revitalize and rejuvenate the Triangle in Natchez continue to rise with the introduction of monthly street markets filled with food, crafts, live performers and more.
To kick off the new monthly event, organizers are planning a preview street market for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday.
Joseph Smith, founder of BlackNatchez.org, said Monday’s market will give the community a small taste of what will be offered each first Saturday of the month in the historic Triangle area of downtown Natchez where St. Catherine Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Street intersect.
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From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday and every first Saturday of the month afterward, vendors will set up in the Triangle area to serve customers.
Shiela Prunty, who is the project’s director of logistics and planning, said everything from food, treats and local produce to jewelry, crafts and other merchandise will be offered.
On Monday, Rolling River is expected to be onsite ready to serve up their famous vegan chili and other delicious dishes. Busy Being Amazing will be selling handmade organic soy candles and K&K Treats will serving up hot chocolate for the cold weather.
Project director Augusta Smith said they expect a large turnout and hope those who come for the annual MLK Day Parade will stop by to shop, explore and enjoy.
The markets are an opportunity to make the community stronger, Augusta Smith said.
“One of the reasons we are putting on the First Saturday Market is because we want to unify our community by hosting it right in the middle of downtown,” Augusta Smith said. “We want to bring the community together; show some love.”
Joseph Smith agreed.
“We really want the First Saturday Market to be a community-oriented event. We have reached out to health care providers to do COVID testing on site,” Joseph Smith said.
NAMI Mississippi is also expected to be on hand to talk about Mental Health issues.
Joseph Smith said he hopes that local representatives from the local law enforcement and fire departments will also bring their cars and trucks for children to see.
In December, BlackNatchez.org organized a holiday display of inflatables in front of businesses and landmarks in the Triangle and along Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Joseph Smith said the First Saturday Market is another step toward bring new energy to the historic district.
“We are working really hard to revitalize the MLK Triangle area, which has been an area that has for many years been filled with blight,” Joseph Smith said. “The market is one of several ways we are hoping to breathe new life into that area, by having people come down and reimagine what that space can be.”
Anyone interested in being a vendor can sign up at the Facebook Page “First Saturday Natchez,” A $55 vendor fee goes toward resources for publicizing the event, Joseph Smith said.
“Any money left over with go toward our planned beautification project,” Joseph Smith said.
Beautification efforts will include trees and other plantings. One of the goals is to transform the Triangle into what has been envisioned in the city’s master plan, Joseph Smith said.
“The master plan for the city has a rendering of the MLK Triangle renamed as the Hiram Revels Plaza,” Joesph Smith said.
A former minister of Zion Chapel AME Church in Natchez, Revels was the first African American to serve in either house of the US Congress.
“Soon we are going to start seeing work done in that area to realize the green space that has been rendered in the master plan,” Joseph Smith said. “Our hope is that as that space changes, that people will be in the habit of coming down to visit due in part to our First Saturday gatherings.”
Joseph said he hopes Monday’s preview market is just the beginning of good things to come for the Triangle and downtown Natchez.
“We really want this to be a reflection of the best of Natchez. We want this to be something that the community looks forward to each month,” Joseph Smith said. “We want this to be a place where you could bring the family and shop a little bit, hang out a little bit, meet some new people and support some local businesses.”