‘Oh Christmas Tree’ Christmas season begins with annual tree lighting

Published 10:00 am Thursday, November 25, 2021

NATCHEZ — Yes, the tree has been lit since September this year in order to set the stage for filming a Hallmark Christmas movie, but that won’t stop Natchez from celebrating its annual tree lighting this holiday season, hosted by Christmas in Natchez.

This Saturday, Nov. 27, the annual tradition to kick-off the Christmas season continues followed by ample activities to help locals and visitors of all ages get into the holiday spirit.

Gamberi’s Clydesdale Christmas

A holiday tradition at Gamberi Farm and Feed Supply in Natchez, Clydesdale Christmas is back again this year just in time for families to get their photos taken to cherish throughout the holiday season.

Photograph sessions with the Clydesdale horse last from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at Gamberi’s, located at 2 Morgantown Road, and are $10 each. The sweet theme for this year is “Candy Cane Christmas.” Once taken, digital copies of your photos will be emailed within three to seven days.

Conner Burns Studio

Between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Natchez artist Conner Burns invites everyone to attend his annual Open House and Art Sale event at his private studio at 209 Franklin St., where is artwork is made. His famous and organic teapots, bowls, cups and glazes are featured in exhibits and publications throughout the world. Attendees will be able to see his newest creations, tour the studio and enjoy food and fellowship. This event is free to attend.

Annual Lighting of the Tree

Also on Saturday, the annual Lighting of the Tree will take place at the heart of Downtown Natchez at the giant Christmas tree in the intersection of Main and Commerce streets.

This favorite holiday tradition is expected to draw a big crowd of several hundred people and streets will be blocked off for the event. Santa Claus and friends will be inside of Home Bank for photo opportunities between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. before caroling around the tree starts at approximately 6:15.

Also during that time, a North Pole Playground will host a ton of fun activities for children, including a petting zoo, rides and food. The Markets will also host a cookie decorating station.

Unlimited ride bracelets which grant access to the North Pole Playground and petting zoo can be purchased on the night of the event for $10 each, but to see Santa and to attend the tree lighting and pyrotechnic show is free. The countdown to the tree lighting starts at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Merry Market

The holiday fun continues with the Merry Market between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Natchez Convention Center.

Attendees will be able to support small businesses while shopping with more than 100 local vendors hosted there and listening to Christmas music.

Christmas parade

The annual Natchez Christmas Parade also takes place on Saturday, Dec. 4, in Downtown Natchez, which is free for all to attend.

The parade starts at 6 p.m. and will travel East on Franklin Street, turn right at Rankin Street, then travel West on Main Street. This year’s Christmas parade is themed “A Hallmark Christmas” and will feature Daniel Lewis of Evergreen Films, who is the Executive Producer of the film “Every Time a Bell Rings,” as the Grand Marshal. Those who would like to be in the parade can register at christmasinnatchez.org/events.

Alcorn State University holiday concert

On Sunday, Dec. 5, beginning at 6 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez will host a free holiday concert featuring the Alcorn State University Choir. This annual event is a highlight of the Christmas season for many and will be directed by Alona T. Alexander, Ph.D. accompanied by Tony Gordon, both members of ASU’s staff.

Coming up

There are many more events to come as Christmas approaches, such as the Breakfast with Santa at St. Mary Basilica on Saturday, Dec. 11 and Holiday Pajama Jam Friday, Dec. 17, at the Natchez City Auditorium followed by Lady B. Christmas Spectacular, an opera performance from the world-renowned voice of London native Victoria Baker on Saturday, Dec. 18.

For more information about these and other holiday events, visit christmasinnatchez.org or visitnatchez.com.