On Friday and Saturday, June 21-22, crepe myrtles will be cause for celebration in Natchez, Mississippi.
The town is holding its International Crepe Myrtle Festival, which includes educational programs on one of the South's favorite trees, along with tours and sales.
Friday night begins with a walk, the Crepe Crawl, downtown. Saturday at the Natchez Farmers Market, Master Gardeners will offer advice and crepe myrtles will be sold.
Festival events continue with free lectures at the Historic Natchez Foundation covering crepe myrtle history and proper maintenance.
There’s also a self-guided tour to view the city’s most splendid blooms.
For festival details, visit visitnatchez.org/events/2019/natchez-international-crepe-myrtle-festival.
“The abundant beauty of crepe myrtles is the reason this festival belongs in Natchez. Many historic 19th- and 20th-century trees have survived," said festival founder Peter Patout. "In the year 2,000, Sallie Ballard made it her mission to ensure that 2,000 Natchez White and additional colorful specimens of crepe myrtles would be planted throughout her beloved city."
For maps, Friday tickets and information, visit Natchez Architectural and Art Discoveries, 515 Main St., which is where the Crepe Crawl begins from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. The walking tour travels the famous “open container route.” Must be 21. Cost is $20 for two wristbands for a 2-for-1 drink or appetizer at participating restaurants and a 2-for-1 cover charge at participating music venues.
Saturday's Natchez Farmers Market in the 100 block of South Commerce Street, is open from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be music, fresh produce, baked goods, fresh dairy, arts and crafts and more from local growers and artists. Crepe myrtle trees will be for sale.
From 9 a.m. to noon, free lectures and workshops will be held at the Historic Natchez Foundation, 108 S. Commerce St. Topics include proper care and pruning of crepe myrtles, controlling crepe myrtle bark scale, the history of Natchez crepe myrtles and treating and caring for crepe myrtles.
Also on Saturday, the Natchez City Cemetery, 41 Cemetery Road, will be open for walking or driving tours to enjoy 490 crepe myrtles. From noon to 2 p.m., the Auburn Antebellum Home, 400 Duncan Park Ave., will be open for tours and serving gumbo and mint juleps for $20. Walk or drive to enjoy 475 crepe myrtles located within the playground, surrounding the golf course and lining the road leading to the pro shop. Take in a game of golf for an additional fee. Tickets sold on site.
Visit Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens, 1358 John A Quitman Blvd., from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to sip a bloody mary while walking among the 125 crepe myrtles. The $8 tickets will be sold on-site.
From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, book signings will be held at Regina’s Kitchen, 312 Main St.