Big weekend planned for city, area|[6/28/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Motorcycles and music, fun and fireworks, barbecue and bands. They’re all part of the Fourth of July celebrations that kick off Friday in Vicksburg and surrounding towns.

For the fourth year in a row, Vicksburg’s Four Seasons of the Arts organization has planned four days of activities for downtown.

Organizer Frances Koury said the organization looked at what larger cities, such as Boston, do and then tailored the celebration to fit Vicksburg.

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The festivities kick off Friday at 7 p.m. with the New Orleans-based Navy Band. The group of about 25 entertainers will perform patriotic music on the lawn of the Old Court House Museum.

The band will also play swing music Saturday afternoon at 2:30 at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center auditorium. Cake and lemonade will be served by The Vicksburg Red Hatters.

The music continues Sunday afternoon at 4 at the SCHC, with a performance by the Myles Family Gospel Group. The concert will be followed by an ice cream social.

In another break from the hot July sun, The Chill will perform Sunday afternoon at Cedar Grove. Owner Colleen Small said the show, which will be on the back lawn of the mansion on Oak Street, will go on, rain or shine. Unlimited barbecue and beer will be available. The Chill performs from 3 to 6, and the barbecue is from 2 to 5. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. For details, call 1-800-862-1300.

Also this weekend, the Vicksburg National Military Park will host a siege program, involving Civil War re-enactment companies from several states. They will fire cannons and rifles and display tents and other equipment. Artillery demonstrations are Saturday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Vicksburg’s celebration ends Monday with a parade, more music and fireworks. The Miss Mississippi Parade begins at 6 p.m. on Veto Street and will roll north on Washington to China Street. After the parade, the 42 contestants will sign autographs at Horizon Hotel and Casino.

At 7:45 p.m., the Mississippi Symphony Holiday Orchestra will perform patriotic music at the Levee Street Depot. The grand finale, a fireworks display synchronized with the music, will light up the Mississippi River at 9 p.m.

Port Gibson kicks off the holiday weekend with the Third Annual Blues & Cruise Thru History Motorcycle Rally and Show. It begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Claiborne County Fairgrounds. At 9 a.m., riders will compete in a poker run to five historic sites. A bike show is at 1 p.m., and blues bands Legal Tender, J Blackfoot, Denise LaSalle and Bobby Rush will perform at 3.

On Sunday afternoon, from 3 until 7, the Legendary Ladies of Gospel, including Vera Ann Smith, Sister Lucille Pope and the Pearly Gates, Geneva Jones, Katie Sankey and Angelic Gospel Singers will perform at A.W. Watson Elementary School in Port Gibson. Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the gate. Bikers pay $10. Admission is $5 for children under 12 with an adult.

Port Gibson will finish the weekend with a 9 p.m. fireworks show at the fairgrounds.

Eagle Lake residents will celebrate the holiday weekend with an informal pontoon parade Sunday. Participants will bring their decorated boats to the public boat ramp at 3 p.m. Organizer Linda Meister said, unlike before, there will be no fee to participate and no competition.

“We just get out and have fun, decorate and have a good time,” Meister said.