Natchez Kite Festival this weekend at Natchez Convention Center, bluff park

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 1, 2022

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NATCHEZ — Kites of all shapes and sizes are scheduled to light up Natchez skies with color this weekend in the city’s first-ever Kite Festival, hosted by professional kite flyers at the Natchez Convention Center.

Walter Tipton, the manager of the Natchez Convention Center and Natchez Grand Hotel, said he and another community organization, Pretty Girls with Brains, engaged the Chicago Kite Company to host this unique event.

“They are very involved in ones around the country and particularly one in Baton Rouge,” Tipton said.

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The festival includes indoor kite-flying demonstrations as well as kite-making classes. Participants learn to make their own kites with varying degrees of skill and materials. Some kites are made with common household items with little to no expense, he said. There is also a competition element of the event, where the kites will be judged for a chance to win awards.

“There are national competitions of kite performance,” Tipton said.

All of the activities in the three-day festival are free, he said, adding parents need only bring their children, perhaps some lawn chairs and their pocketbooks for food and beverages provided by different vendors.

Festivities kick off on Friday, Nov. 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Bluff, during a “Glow with Us” flying demonstration. This includes an exhibition of large, luminous kites to light up the night sky on the Natchez bluff, Tipton said.

Three different indoor kite sessions will be held at the Natchez Convention Center. Session 1 is from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday, Session 2 is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Session 3 is from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Invitations to the festival were handed out at public and private schools in Natchez to encourage families to participate, Tipton said.

“It involves people of all ages and something that children especially will enjoy,” he said. “We’re pretty excited about it and have people coming from all over the country who know a little bit about it.”

The purpose of the kite festival, Tipton said, is to provide “recreational and educational opportunities for our youth in the community.”

Pretty Girls with Brains is a local non-profit established to encourage, empower, and engage young girls to become productive leaders for global change through community service.

The organization has been working with young people for several years. They’ve been implanted at the former Frazier Elementary School and provided online science tutoring for 5th-grade students in 2018.

Bettye Bell, who serves as the organization’s community liaison, said the organization was extremely happy to see several students score proficient or advanced on the Mississippi State Assessment Test for 5th-grade science that year. Several young ladies from the organization participated in the Proud to Take a Stand ceremony activities for the placement of the monument at the Natchez City Auditorium, serving as ushers and participants in the program. The organization has also been instrumental in sponsoring two contestants in the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant, where they served as Miss Natchez Hospitality as well.

“Hats off to Kaitlyn Green, who is currently enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi and Anna Simmons, who is at the University of Ole Miss, both young ladies who represented the city of Natchez with pride, dignity, and southern hospitality,” Bell said.

Ashley Murray, who is the Executive Director of Pretty Girls with Brains, said for the past two years COVID-19 has limited interactions and activities with young people.

“Now that some COVID restrictions have been relaxed, … members of the organization are ready to get energized and reconnected with young people to tackle issues they face daily,” she said.

In recent months, the organization’s primary focus has been teen depression, suicide, bullying, and cultural bias—which provide an “unforeseen danger to our young people and the community at large.”

“Therefore, it is our duty as members of this community to provide alternatives to those things that negatively affect our youth,” Bell said.

The kite festival is one among many different activities that the organization is hosting and helping with to engage youth in the community,

Last month, Pretty Girls with Brains kicked off “A Platform for Greatness” for young people between the ages of 10 and 18 at Jack Waite Park.

“The purpose of the event was to encourage young people to become ambassadors of hope for each other,” and receive get tips on how to deal with the aforementioned social issues, Bell said. Those attending participated in a monologue about teen suicide as well as received lessons on speech and good posture.

However, most of the day was spent receiving information on how to help their peers.

“All students who attended the event will have access to free online tutoring to help with math and language arts skills for the rest of this academic school year,” Bell said. “The organization would also like to reach out to adults to become a mentor for an individual or groups of individuals to help engage young people in positive productive activities.”

Pretty Girls With Brains has planned future activity dates on the third Sunday of each month.

These are as follows:

  • November 2022, A Friendship Tea – The event will provide an opportunity to understand diversity and social relationships.
  • December 2022, A Gift of Love – Pretty Girls with Brains participants will donate personal items for patients at local nursing homes.
  • January 2023 – Masquerade Ball for Teens – Cultural Diversity Event to connect and socialize with other teens from the Miss-Lou area.
  • February 2023- Miss Natchez Hospitality Pageant – Local contest will be held to select a participant to be sponsored in the Mississippi Miss Hospitality Pageant in July 2023
  • March 2023 – Women Legacy Leaders of Gala -The organization will host a celebration for outstanding women leaders of Natchez who offer inspiration to young girls and ladies from various diverse backgrounds.

For More Information Contact Pretty Girls with Brains at 601-456-2002, Ashley Murray, Executive Director at or Bettye Bell, Community Liaison at