Good weather expected to draw crowds to city’s weekend full of activities

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 6, 2000

As the calendar marches its way into autumn, Vicksburg finds itself full of fall activities. Many begin this weekend, and those involved are hoping for good weather and even better crowds.

“I think the cooler it is, people will stay a little longer,” said Cason Schaffer, who’s banking on brisk business at the Old Court House Flea Market. “I think with good weather we usually do a little bit better every year.”

Saturday’s forecast calls for cloudy skies and a high temperature in the 60s.

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Schaffer has directed the 18-year-old flea market, an event that has raised $45,000 for the Old Court House Museum since its infancy. He estimates the flea market drew 6,000 to 8,000 people last fall, “but it’s hard to really know when you don’t charge admission.”

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Cherry, Grove, Jackson and Monroe streets, which surround the Old Court House Museum, shoppers and browsers can check out the flea market’s nearly 200 booths.

Vendors will be selling items ranging from wooden lawn ornaments to handmade jewelry. “We think people will be shopping for Christmas,” Schaffer said, adding that 16 food vendors will serve shoppers “just about everything” from chicken-on-a-stick and funnel cakes to fried pork skins and German sausage.

Also taking place downtown Saturday is the King Cotton Festival. The all-day cultural-heritage festival will include arts and crafts, food, live entertainment, children’s activities and a performance by the U.S. Navy’s rock ‘n’ roll band.

Brenda Benway, owner of Yesterday’s Treasures at 1400 Washington St., is among the downtown merchants planning special sales around the festival. “We’re going to have a sidewalk sale, weather permitting,” she said, adding that the event, like Riverfest in the spring, “does get people out. It brings people downtown.”

Other weekend events in Vicksburg are:

RebStock, a festival of Civil War and old-time music, will be staged tonight and Saturday on the grounds of the Old Court House Museum. The Old Hat String Band, which includes Sandra Melsheimer and Alvin Hudson of Warren County, will perform at 6 tonight. At 10 a.m. Saturday, members of the Mississippi Old-Time Music Society will have an informal pickin’ on the court house lawn, and at 6 Saturday night Leatherwoods, a band from Mountain View, Ark., will perform.

Admission for evening events is $5 for adults, $2 for children under 12, and preschoolers get in free. Take blankets or chairs and refreshments. For more information, call 636-0741.

A Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi exhibit and demonstration will take place at The Attic Gallery, 1101 Washington St. Activities will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the courtyard, and guest artisans and craftsmen will exhibit or demonstrate wood turning, wood carving, pottery and jewelry making. The event is free. For more information, call 638-9221.

Walkfest for Diabetes 2000, a fund-raiser sponsored by the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, will begin at 9:30 Saturday morning. The walk will start at BancorpSouth, 820 South St. Registration will be at 8:30 a.m. For more information, call 957-7878 or 877-336-2873.

McRaven Tour Home, 1445 Harrison St., will sponsor a living history re-enactment of the signing of the Spanish-Colonial peace treaty from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visitors to the encampment, which is open to the public, can observe period demonstrations in textiles, fashions, cooking and music. Free. For more information, call 636-1663 or log on to

Continuing in Vicksburg this weekend is Fall Pilgrimage. Twelve homes and buildings throughout the city will be open for tours. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 per three-site tour. Other activities include a tour of Cedar Hill Cemetery, $13; Linden Plantation gardens, $8; and a riverboat box supper sunset tour, $30. For more information, call 636-9421 or log on to