NATCHEZ — On Friday and Saturday, June 21-22, crepe myrtles will be the stars of the Natchez International Crepe Myrtle Festival.
Friday night, June 21, begins the festival with a Crepe Crawl (walk) downtown for those 21 and older. On June 22 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. Self-guided tours to view the city’s most splendid blooms, plus some book signings, are also June 22.
“The abundant beauty of crepe myrtles is the reason this festival belongs in Natchez,” said festival founder Peter Patout. “Many historic 19th- and 20th-century trees have survived. In the year 2000, 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. The crepe myrtles Ms. Ballard established have made Natchez the ‘Crepe Myrtle Capital of the World.'”
Natchez Architectural and Art Discoveries, 515 Main St., serves at “Crepe Myrtle Central,” the downtown headquarters for information, maps and tickets.
Self-guided tours of crepe myrtle grounds and signings June 22 include:
n All day touring at Natchez City Cemetery, which has 490 crepe myrtles.
n Noon-2 p.m. at Auburn Antebellum Home, with home tours, plus gumbo and mint juleps ($20). Walk or drive to enjoy 475 crepe myrtles on the grounds. Golf available for an additional fee.
n Monmouth Historic Inn and Gardens is open 2-4 p.m. for walks among 125 crepe myrtles while sipping Bloody Marys ($8).
n Also from 2-4 p.m., book signings take place at Regina’s Kitchen on Main Street.
Find complete festival details at visitnatchez.org/events/2019/natchez-international-crepe-myrtle-festival.