Get ready for Holiday Host and Toast Sunday in downtown Natchez; more than 120 merchants, restaurants and vendors to participate

Published 1:35 pm Friday, November 11, 2022

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NATCHEZ — More than 120 downtown shops, restaurants and vendors will be open and ready to serve up holiday treats and special sales at the Downtown Natchez “Holiday Host and Toast” this Sunday.

Official event hours are noon to 4 p.m., although some merchants will be opening as

early as 10 a.m.

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Many downtown merchants will continue to be open every Sunday through Dec. 18.

“If you haven’t seen Downtown Natchez lately, you haven’t seen Downtown Natchez,” said Mickey Howley, executive director of the Downtown Natchez Alliance. “This Sunday afternoon, the Christmas decorations will be up, the stores will be open, the restaurants will be serving, and the streets will be hopping. It will be a celebration of our exceptional downtown to kick off the holiday season.”

The open house event, organized by DNA and downtown merchants, is much more than just another party.

“A good holiday shopping season is essential to your hard-working downtown merchants and a key indicator of a healthy downtown in general,” Howley said. “Remember, those tax dollars that stay at home circulate through the local economy seven times, benefiting us all.”

DNA will have two information tables, one at Main and North Commerce, by the Christmas Tree, and the second at Franklin and Commerce. Taylor Cooley helps DNA with events and promotions as the downtown merchant liaison.

“Our volunteers will be handing out any brochures and coupons that merchants would like us to share, as well as maps to guide people to participating shops and restaurants,” Cooley said.

There will also be door prizes throughout downtown. A list of participating merchants will be at

One new downtown experience is actually not new at all: Sissy Atkins Blackwood, who has operated Consign & Design in the 100 block of North Commerce Street for 20 years, will be unveiling her new location at 105 N. Commerce St., the former Dykes Jewelry building.

“I hope everyone will come downtown Sunday afternoon to shop, visit, relax, and enjoy, and I can’t wait to invite everyone to the new home of Consign & Design,” said Blackwood, who has a keen eye for collecting unique vintage and contemporary merchandise.

She and her husband Marc have worked hands-on with their contractors to restore the building’s 19th century aura. Their efforts have transformed the streetscape of a key downtown block designated as the Center City Arts District in the city’s official Downtown Master Plan.

At 629 Franklin St., the Zerby family will be celebrating their 50th Open House at Moreton’s Flowerland.

“We do Christmas right at Moreton’s,” said Brenda Zerby. “Our windows alone are a must-see for children and we knock ourselves out creating a Christmas wonderland inside the store with beautiful holiday decorations and gifts for sale.”

Zerby is a member of DNA’s board of directors and also chairs the organization’s design committee.

“We will be open 10-5 p.m. with discounts from 10-30% and a Christmas ornament draw for everyone.”

“Each participating merchant is offering up their own version of holiday fun,” Cooley said. For instance, Darby’s on Main will be offering sales on Christmas garlands and other holiday merchandise, along with sweets and treats.

The Shops at Kress, 122 N. Commerce, features 44 individual vendors and will offer

hors d’oeuvres and a special cranberry drink, the Poinsettia.

Around the corner, John Grady Burns, proprietor of Hal Garner at Nest, 505 Franklin St., is ready with his showcase of holiday gift selections, drawings, and special sales.

“The most rewarding part for me is serving our guests with apéritifs and libations as a year-end thank you for being loyal customers,” Burns said. “Our annual open house is always a great time of celebration for us at Nest.”

“Shopping local is giving back to the Natchez community,” said Mayor Dan Gibson. “Not only do we support our local merchants, the lifeblood of our economy, but also every time we buy a gift in Natchez for a friend or loved one, we are making sure that the sales tax dollars come back to Natchez. And those dollars add up.

Now that’s a Christmas gift to the whole community!”

Natchez Inc. has spearheaded a Shop Local Campaign since COVID became a reality in 2020.

“In these economic times, a vibrant retail and service sector is paramount to the overall success of our community,” said Chandler Russ, executive director of Natchez, Inc. “The best way for us all to give our everyday support to our own community is to keep spending local dollars at home. The Downtown Natchez Holiday Host & Toast this Sunday is the perfect opportunity to do just that.”