Music, food, fun for kids and fireworks set for Natchez bandstand area of bluff July 4

Published 1:41 pm Friday, June 30, 2023

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NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez plans a family-friendly Fourth of July celebration on the bluff, beginning with live music at 5 p.m. and ending with spectacular fireworks beginning at 9:30 p.m.

The event will be centered at the Bandstand Park at the bluff and is free and open to everyone.

It will feature food vendors, areas with fans and tents and free activities for children.

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The Natchez Parks and Recreation Department will provide activities for kids of all ages.

Sarah Lindsey Laukhuff, who launched the successful Live at Five concert series in Natchez in the Fall of 2020, is coordinating music, which will begin with Cha Cha Boo at 5 p.m. and Emerson Hill and the Room 102 Band at 7 p.m.

The celebration will be dedicated to surviving Natchez World War II veterans, who will be honored by Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson and Natchez Poet Laureate, Galen Mark LaFrancis.

Sponsors for the Natchez July 4 event includes Ardenland, the Historic City of Natchez, Delta Bank, Jeannie Archer for Concordia Parish Assessor, Concordia Bank and Trust Co., and Under the Hill Saloon.

The annual Fourth of July Fireworks Show has been organized each year since 2018 by the non-profit Miss-Lou Fireworks organization led by businesswoman Sabrina Dore, who owns Shelter Insurance Agency in Vidalia, Louisiana.

As a 501c3 organization, donations to the July 4 and the New Year’s Eve fireworks shows are tax deductible.

“The Fourth of July show has a minimum pyrotechnic cost of $25,000 and with the barge service and Coast Guard permits, it ends up costing $26,600,” Dore said. “It’s a large mountain to climb. This year’s show has been the absolute hardest to get the sponsorships for. In fact, we just made our financial goal for the show yesterday.”

Dore also said this year’s show was possible because the organization had $8,000 from previous shows it was able to roll over to this year’s show.

“To continue this show, we are going to have to get a little bit more community support,” she said.

The New Year’s Eve fireworks show is less expensive because it’s not as involved. It costs about $15,000.

“I think lots of businesses and organizations and people in the community think you have to donate thousands and thousands of dollars to make a difference, but that’s not true. We have donations from community members, residents, and citizens of the Miss-Lou who donate $20 or more. We appreciate that because that adds up,” Dore said.

Curtis Elkins and his company, Pyromania of Bossier City, Louisiana, was hired by Dore for the 2019 fireworks show, and since has become a Miss-Lou favorite.

“When I took over the shows in 2018, I basically had to start from scratch. I found Curtis and he now does all of the fireworks shows in the Miss-Lou, including the balloon festival and the Christmas tree lighting. He does a fantastic show,” she said.

The Fourth of July fireworks show is appreciated by many.

“I have a gentleman who has traveled here every year from the state of Georgia just to the our fireworks. That to me says a lot. This fireworks show and all of the festivals and things we do here are getting lots of attention and contributing to tourism in our area,” she said.

Dore said she understands not everyone is a fan of fireworks and works to ease the trauma for those who have issues with them.

“I do want to make sure everyone knows we understand fireworks can cause trauma to pets and people with PTSD. We try to be as open about the time frame as possible so people can prepare. We take it to heart that they can cause problems. We let everyone know that they fireworks will go off at 9:30 p.m. or as close to that as possible and the show will last for 15 minutes,” she said. “To me, it’s better to have this one show, rather than your neighbors shooting fireworks off outside your window until all hours of the morning. They will be thunderously loud, and then it will be over. We do not want to cause any fear or trauma, so we hope people plan around the fireworks show.”