Holiday weekend begins with call for volunteers

Published 9:34 am Thursday, May 25, 2017

A festival, re-enactors, a monument rededication, concert and a parade will headline the Memorial Day weekend in Vicksburg.

The annual observance starts early with volunteers placing flags at the headstones in the Vicksburg Military Park Friday morning.

Saturday’s events begin with the arrival of the 3rd United States Colored Cavalry Living History group, at the old superintendent’s quarters on Pemberton Avenue in the Vicksburg National Military Park.

The living history organization will present demonstrations, accompanied by ranger talks, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and will also participate in the 38th annual Vicksburg Memorial Day Parade Monday.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Missouri Sons of Union Veterans and Missouri Sons of Confederate Veterans will hold a rededication ceremony at the Missouri Memorial honoring the centennial of the memorial’s dedication in 1917, and feature re-enactors and the Mississippi National Guard firing a modern-day artillery salute.

The memorial is unique, because it honors soldiers from Missouri who served in the Union and Confederate armies.

People wanting to attend the event are asked to park at the USS Cairo and use a free shuttle service to reach the Missouri Memorial. People should use the park’s Fort Hill entrance to get to the Cairo Parking lot.

Shuttles will leave the Cairo at noon and 12:30 p.m. Graveyard Road will be closed for the duration of the event for handicapped parking. Guests are encouraged to bring plenty of water, hats and sunscreen.

Events at the park end at 7 p.m. with a concert by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. The program title is “Symphony at Sunset: Celebrating Mississippi’s Bicentennial Year.”

The free concert at the park visitor center is presented by the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign and the Four Seasons of the Arts.

Guests wishing to attend the symphony should park at the Vicksburg Outlet mall and use the free shuttle to access the symphony. The shuttle service begins at 5 p.m. The concert will be preceded by a performance by the Patrick Smith Band.

Also Saturday, Eagle Lake’s fifth annual Lake Fest begins at 10 a.m. Saturday despite Mississippi 465 being closed to flooding. People wanting to attend the event will be able to reach Eagle Lake by the main levee north of Eagle Lake to 465.

“The Muddy Bayou Bridge will be open Saturday,” said Linda Banchetti, president of Eagle Lake Matters. “We will have 40 vendors and we’re ready to have a good time.”

Events Monday begin with the parade at 10 a.m. The parade will form at 9 a.m. on Belmont Street, then go north along Washington Street to Jackson Street.

“There is no fee to participate,” said organizer Willie Glasper. “All people have to do is show up and get in line.

“Our theme this year is ‘Lest We Forget.’ A lot of Americans shed their blood so we could be free, and we want to remember that.”

The parade is followed by the Memorial Service at the Vicksburg Auditorium, which will feature Col. Bryan Green, commander of the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center.

Monday’s events close with the annual motorcade to the National Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony and 21-gun salute by members of the 412th Engineer Command.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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