Natchez Spring and Fall Pilgrimages

Natchez Spring and Fall Pilgrimages

March-April and October
These events, held since 1932 in Natchez, Miss., attract about 75,000 people to tour the county's antebellum houses. Women in hoop skirts welcome visitors to the mansions and their gardens of azaleas, camellias, olive trees, and boxwood hedges.
Natchez, situated on 200-foot bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, was named for the Natchez Indians. It was founded by the French in 1716, and was the first European settlement on the river. It had a golden era in the 60 years after Mississippi became a territory in 1798. The town was an important river port, and wealthy citizens had vast plantations and built magnificent homes. Thirty-one of these, some owned by descendants of the original families, are open for the spring tours. They include such spectacular homes as Longwood, the largest octagonal house remaining in the United States, and Auburn, an imposing mansion with a free-standing stairway to the second floor.
Besides the tours, there are candlelight dinners in Magnolia Hall, a mansion that houses a costume museum, and presentations four times a week of the "Confederate Pageant," a lavish musical with local performers in costume presenting vignettes of the Old South. "Southern Road to Freedom," presented by the Holy Family Choir, is a musical tribute to the struggles and victories of African Americans in Natchez from colonial days to the present, and is performed three times a week.
During the celebration in October, there is another mansion tour. During the three-week Natchez Fall Pilgrimage there are 18 homes open to tours.
CONTACTS:
Natchez Pilgrimage Tours
640 S. Canal St.
P.O. Box 347
Natchez, MS 39121
800-647-6742 or 601-446-6631; fax: 601-446-8687
www.natchezpilgrimage.com
SOURCES:
GdUSFest-1984, p. 101