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Newlyweds Shelby and Jackson (played by Julia Roberts and Dylan McDermott) are surrounded by family and friends as they leave for their honeymoon in the Natchitoches-shot film 'Steel Magnolias.' 

Want to feel old? It's been 30 years since the tearful classic "Steel Magnolias" arrived in theaters.

Want to feel better? There's a celebration of the most Southern of movies next weekend in the city where it was filmed — Natchitoches.  

The Blush and Bashful Weekend (a reference to the color scheme for character Shelby's wedding) runs Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 7-10.

"Not a week goes by at the Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau's Welcome Center that visitors don't come in asking about the 'Steel Magnolias' movie and wanting to learn more about the movie being filmed here," said Arlene Gould, Natchitoches CVB executive director, said in a news release. "Some are surprised to learn it is based on a true story about one of our beloved Natchitoches families, the Harlings. When Susan's (Shelby in the film) brother Bobby wrote 'Steel Magnolias,' he wanted to keep the memory of his sister alive."

The movie was shot in Natchitoches in 1988. Harling's story focuses Shelby and her fight with diabetes, along with several of the "steel magnolias" of Chinquapin, a fictitious town modeled after Natchitoches.

Julia Roberts plays Shelby in the movie, which also stars Sally Field, Tom Skerritt, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton and Daryl Hannah.

Community organizations and businesses have planned events, including:

  • Thursday: armadillo cake contest hosted by Northwestern State University's Hospitality Management & Tourism Department. Deadline to register is Monday at Natchitoches.com/steelmagnolias.
  • Friday: Red carpet movie premiere, Parkway Cinema. Reception preceding; attendees encouraged to dress in their best blush and bashful attire. The movie will run through Nov. 14. 
  • Saturday: unveiling of the Natchitoches Film Trail highlighting the points of interest in Natchitoches Parish associated with movie locations. Other movies filmed in the area include "Man in the Moon" and "The Horse Soldiers."
  • Saturday: Children’s Easter egg hunt (as in the movie) for ages 2-10 in Beau Jardin, hosted by the Service League of Natchitoches; character look-alike contest, hosted by the Service League and Phi Mu Fraternity, riverbank stage in the afternoon, followed by a panel discussion at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum. A Dolly (Parton) look-alike contest, Cane River Brewing Company, in the evening.
  • All day Saturday: Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches' tour of homes and sites used in the movie's filming. Special events at selected locations along the tour, as well as a speaker series and exhibit at the Lemee House titled "Behind the Scenes of 'Steel Magnolias.' " 
  • Saturday night: The owners of the Steel Magnolia Bed and Breakfast host an event featuring Louisiana cuisine, toe-stomping zydeco music, dancing and a bleeding armadillo cake (also from the film). Cocktail, semi-formal or '80s themed attire preferred.
  • All weekend: two-hour guided tours of the 'Steel Magnolias' filming sites by Tour Natchitoches with Barbara. Visit natchitoches.com/SteelMagnolias for booking information.
  • Sunday: Brunch hosted by the Natchitoches Historic Foundation, catered by world-famous Lasyone's Meat Pie Kitchen at the historic Prud'homme-Rouqier House. Tickets: natchitocheshf.com.
  • 10 a.m. Sunday: Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church, setting for Shelby's wedding in the film.

The weekend is presented by the Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, Parkway Cinema, NSU's Hospitality Management and Tourism Department, The Service League of Natchitoches, the Natchitoches Historic Foundation, the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches, Steel Magnolia House B&B, Cane River Brewing Co., Natchitoches Main Street, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, St. Augustine Catholic Church and Tour Natchitoches with Barbara.

For information about "Steel Magnolias" and the Blush & Bashful Weekend, visit natchitoches.com/steelmagnolias.

Trips for seniors

Louisiana Travelers is planning its first trip for 2020 — an excursion Feb. 11-13 to New Orleans.

Cost is $299 per person. Five vacancies remain for the trip. Those interested can call (225) 769-5872.

The second trip for next year will be posted on the website grouptrips.com/LouisianaTravelers on Nov. 13. The trip will depart in late May.

Last-minute idea

Sunday, Nov. 3: "New Iberia Beneath the Balconies," live theatrical vignettes performed from beneath the balconies of New Iberia's Main Street. Performances start at Shadows-on-the-Teche, 317 E. Main St., at 2 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs; food and music on the grounds, noon to 2 p.m. (337) 364-1603.

Email Judy Bergeron at jbergeron@theadvocate.com.