Fundraiser for Christmas in Natchez held at Dunleith
Published 11:00 am Saturday, July 30, 2022
BY MAIA BRONFMAN
Amy Allen, a recent addition to Natchez from El Dorado, Arkansas, played Gloria Gaynor on a grand piano while guests at the Christmas in Natchez fundraiser encircled auction tables.
With one hand, people wrote down dollar amounts for sunset cemetery tours, sunset airplane flights and sunset pool parties. With the other hand, they held cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. It was, after all, a Thursday evening at Dunleith.
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Outside, the front lawn was lit by nursery rhyme and the 12 days of Christmas-themed decorations. Tim Fitzpatrick, and his daughter Kelly Fitzpatrick of Christmas Depot had returned to Natchez for the event after decorating the downtown for the Hallmark movie that was filmed last summer.
There were about 100 attendees, more than any of the previous years, Jackie Robinson, an organizer from the Community Alliance, said. After the notoriety of the Fitzpatrick’s decorations last summer, Robinson said the investment in Christmas in Natchez has grown.
In total, they have to raise $34,650 to fund the entire season of festivities. The annual tree lighting ceremony is Robinson’s favorite. She’s hoping the alliance will also be able to purchase the nursery themed exhibit on the lawn after the night’s raising of funds.
“Let us eat, drink, be merry and spend some money,” Robinson said after Allen finished her serenade.
Allen is offering as an auction item a private concert in the Stanton guest house, which she bought in May of this year.
She first came to Natchez in 2021 to participate in Regina Charboneau’s biscuit class. After staying at The Burn and going to the casino, Allen decided to move.
Her partner, Tracy Alderson, has more of an eye for design while Allen is a professional musician. The only place besides home and Natchez where she’s lived was Nashville, where she made two albums.
“We’re ying and yang,” Allen said about herself and Alderson. Buying the Stanton guest house was great because Alderson could visually render the concert hall and she could fill it with music.
“When I came to Natchez everyone was so hospitable and accepting and excited, and they didn’t even know me,” Allen said, “and now I’m so excited, about what I can give to the community.”
Allen only played four songs throughout the evening, saving the rest for the successful bidder.