Free downtown walking tours offered next weekend|[3/19/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 21, 2005

Vicksburg residents will be offered free historic walking tours beginning next weekend downtown.

“This is a great opportunity for locals to get out and learn more about our city’s rich history,” said Pat Strange, a group tour and sales assistant for the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is offering the tours for free Friday and Saturday.

The focus is to educate locals about Vicksburg so they, in turn, may share knowledge with tourists.

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“It’s important because of the interaction (locals) may have with the visitors, who may ask questions about Vicksburg or need directions somewhere,” she said.

The Past Comes Alive Guided Walking Tours were developed for passengers of the Mississippi Queen, Delta Queen and American Queen, steamboats that dock at Vicksburg’s City Front. Strange said the tours for the boat passengers have become a successful part of the city’s tourism, seeing 15 to 41 people each time since the tours began a few months ago.

Two tours with the same design will be conducted Friday and Saturday. Participants will walk about three miles, viewing antebellum homes built between 1822 and the 1870s and historical buildings and museums, all while learning about the city’s history.

“They can learn about antebellum Vicksburg history ranging from 1819 to the present,” Strange said. “I hope we have local community interest. We’re also looking for assistance from people interested in learning to do the walking tours.”