Natchez Trace Parkway to Celebrate 75 Years with Music, Memories, and Fun

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TUPELO, MS – The Natchez Trace Parkway will celebrate 75 years as a national park on Saturday, May 18, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The free, family-oriented event will feature live music, dozens of exhibitors and historical personas, dignitaries, children’s activities, classic cars and much more. Festivities will be held at the Parkway Visitor Center, located just north of Tupelo on the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 266.

TUPELO, MS – The Natchez Trace Parkway will celebrate 75 years as a national park on Saturday, May 18, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The free, family-oriented event will feature live music, dozens of exhibitors and historical personas, dignitaries, children’s activities, classic cars and much more. Festivities will be held at the Parkway Visitor Center, located just north of Tupelo on the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 266.

Local car enthusiasts will present over 80 classic vehicles between 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Opening ceremonies will begin at 10:00 a.m., with the National Anthem to be sung by renowned mezzo-soprano Dr. Lester Senter. Dignitaries will begin speaking at 10:30. All other activities will begin at 11:00 a.m.

The celebration will include people dressed as historical characters important to the Trace, including a “Kaintuck,” Meriwether Lewis, a War of 1812 soldier, a Confederate soldier, and a Union soldier from the United States Colored Troops. The Tombigbee Pioneer Group, regular presenters at the Parkway Visitor Center, will also share their traditional crafts and skills.

Children will have the opportunity to participate in a mock archaeological dig, find “animals” while “driving” on the Beech Springs Trail, vote for their favorite classic car, and earn a special patch.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will share traditional dancing in between music sets and present displays of traditional clothing and beadwork.

Local musicians will take visitors on a musical history tour. Starting with music played on the dulcimer, leading to bluegrass and gospel, and ending with a rock n’ roll tribute to Elvis Presley, the groups will keep toes tapping as they lead visitors down memory lane.

Many of the Natchez Trace Parkway’s partners will also present exhibits: the Federal Highway Adminstration (Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division), the Natchez Trace Compact, the Mary Stuart Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area, and the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau will all share their connection to the parkway.

Hot dogs and soda will be sold at 1938 prices, thanks to the support of the Natchez Trace Parkway Association.

Time Event
10:00 Opening Ceremonies & Speakers: Melisa Ridenour, Federal Highway Administration, National Park Service Southeast Regional Director Gordon Wissinger, US Representative Alan Nunnelee, US Senator Roger Wicker, US Senator Thad Cochran
11:00 Festivities open

Live Music: North Mississippi Dulcimer Association

11:45 Live Music: Pickin’n Grinnin’, St. Luke United Methodist Church bluegrass band
12:30 Live Music: Redoak Grove Church Choir, Mary Rainey, Choir President
1:15 Live Music: Jack Curtis, Elvis Presley stylist
2:00 Event closes

This event is sponsored by the National Park Service, Eastern National and the Natchez Trace Parkway Association.

On May 18, 1938, Congress passed a bill creating the Natchez Trace Parkway as part of the National Park Service. Since then, the Parkway has commemorated the history, beauty, and culture of the “Old Trace,” and provided a range of recreational opportunities for visitors to enjoy. For more information, please visit www.nps.gov/natr, or call 800-305-7417.