Estimated 3,000 shop the 175 vendors at Friday and Saturday’s Merry Market at city’s convention center

Published 1:02 pm Sunday, April 2, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Andrea Bradford of Natchez sat at a table in the lobby of the Natchez Convention Center and took in all the vendors and shoppers on Saturday.

The Merry Market, which is now in its fifth year and happens several times each year, has grown to hosting on Friday and Saturday approximately 175 vendors. Coming from all over the southwest, they covered almost every inch of Convention Center property, including the main floor, upstairs and outside in the parking lot.

“I have always gone to the Mistletoe Marketplace,” Bradford said about the popular annual endeavor of the Junior League of Jackson. “About five years ago, I was talking to some friends about how Natchez a market like the one in Jackson.”

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Bradford and others went to work and that first market had 46 vendors and Merry Market has grown larger each time they’ve had one.

Bradford estimated approximately 3,000 people had come to the convention center Friday and Saturday to browse vendors’ merchandise.

Admission is free for a reason, she said.

“We want vendors to have as much opportunity as possible to sell their goods.”

Friday and Saturday’s market had everything imaginable, from children’s clothing to adults, cowboy hats and other western wear to jewelry of all kinds, arts, crafts and food galore.

“The city has told us we can expand to the street behind the convention center, and we hope the convention center itself will expand and we will have more room under roof,” Bradford said. “There are so many more things going on in Natchez now and the more the better. We want to grow and succeed.”

A popular part of Saturday’s Merry Market was the Fuzzy Bottoms Petting Zoo from Roxie. Bunnies, a tortoise, rabbits, donkeys, miniature horses, goats, a tortoise and snakes delights dozens of children who got to hold and pet the animals.

Natchez Attorney Tim Blalock was at the petting zoo with a number of his six children. His daughter, Adeline, held a Ball Python, a creature she is familiar with because the family has one at home.

“We have just about every animal they have here,” Blalock said.