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Dedication for Lynyrd Skynyrd Monument signage Saturday

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The Lynyrd Skynyrd monument. (photo courtesy LSM)

The chartered plane transporting the iconic country rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed 43 years ago in rural Mississippi after running out of fuel on its way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Six of the 26 people aboard the plane died including lead vocalist and founding member Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist and vocalist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines (Steve’s older sister), assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray.

For years, Frynds of Lynyrd Skynyrd have worked to erect a monument near the crash site and ensure fans can find it. Last year, a beautiful monument was unveiled at Mississippi Highway 568 and Easley Road in Pike County telling the story of the band and the crash. This year, the Frynds are celebrating Mississippi’s erecting signage on Interstate 55 south of Magnolia and near the monument itself so that fans can easily find the monument.

With new signage, fans will easily find the Lynyrd Skynyrd monument. (photo courtesy LSM)

A dedication of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Monument tourism signs is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m. at the monument on Highway 568 and Easley Road. Organizers expect several state dignitaries to speak at the event and will offer refreshments.

The road to getting the monument and signage completed hasn’t been easy. From fundraising to navigating the rules governing monuments and signs, the Frynds had to jump through numerous hoops to accomplish their goal.

Things began looking up when rescuer Dwain Easley and his family donated the land for the monument. With private land and no local or state regulations to deal with, the project was back on the fast track. The group also partnered with the Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center Foundation to provide credibility and leadership to accelerate the cause.

Dave Pace, Kevin Laird and the Brookhaven Monument crew broke records, broke company rules, and called in every favor available to have the 14-foot wide by 8-foot tall monument placed by Oct. 20, 2019.

The Mississippi Legislature stepped up this year to have the Department of Transportation erect tourism signs on Interstate 55 at Exit 8 and on Highway 568 at Easley Road to direct visitors to the Lynyrd Skynyrd Monument.

In the year after dedicating the monument, guests have come from 39 states, five Canadian provinces and 18 countries. The Lynyrd Skynyrd Monument has become one of the area’s largest tourist attractions.

For more information, visit the Lynyrd Skynyrd Monument Facebook page and website or send a text message to 601-249-7033.

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Mississippi Boy Choir’s annual Christmas Concert will be online Friday

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(photo from MBC Facebook page)

The Mississippi Boy Choir will present its annual Christmas Concert virtually this year, meaning everyone can enjoy the choir for free.

The concert is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on the choir’s website from the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.

2020 marks the 26th season for the choir, which stems from a 1,500-year-old tradition of boys singing in the great cathedrals of Western Europe. The organization has two choirs: a training choir that consists of young boys in second grade up whose voices have not changed, and a concert choir with both changed and unchanged voices. The concert choir generally consists of boys from the fifth through the 12th grade.

The Vicksburg branch of the Mississippi Boy Choir meets on Mondays at the Church of the Holy Trinity on South Street.

Friday’s performance is funded by the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Annual Christmas Parade of Lights canceled

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Vicksburg Christmas Parade 2019

Vicksburg Main Street has announced that the annual Christmas Parade of Lights scheduled for Dec. 5 has been canceled.

Applications to participate in the parade, themed “Frozen in Time,” were due today.

Instead of the parade, Vicksburg Main Street is “reimagining” the event, substituting several smaller events to celebrate Christmas in Vicksburg.

  1. “This is an unusual year and we certainly want everyone to have a safe holiday,” said Board President Christi Kilroy. ” These well-thought-out changes were made to protect the people who visit downtown. The board and staff have done everything they can to keep the downtown
    experience festive and fun for the holidays.”

Vicksburg Christmas events include:

  • Friday, Nov. 27, live music at 5:30 p.m. and City of Vicksburg Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. – Santa will be present
  • Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Dec. 27 – Christmas in the Park- Make plans to see all the Christmas lights and decorations at Washington Street Park
  • Saturday, Nov. 28, All Day – Small Business Saturday
  • Sunday, Nov. 29, 1 to 5 p.m.- Old Fashion Holiday Open House. Shoppers who spend $25 or more will receive a poinsettia from the Vicksburg Main Street Program. Santa will be strolling Washington Street and available for pictures – bring your camera!
  • Saturday, Dec. 5, 8 a.m. Reindeer Run at Catfish Row
  • Saturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Levee Street Marketplace Christmas Open House
  • Sunday, Dec. 6, 3 to 8 p.m., Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation Kids in the Kitchen Christmas
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 8 a.m.-10 a.m. Vicksburg Convention Center’s Breakfast with Santa
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Bella la Vita Photography Toys for Tots Toy Drive
  • Saturday, Dec. 12, 2 to 6 p.m., Second Saturday
  • Sunday, Dec. 13-12:30 p.m. Vicksburg Convention Center’s Holiday Jazz Brunch “Miracle on Swing Street”

Vicksburg’s Main Street organization appreciates the public’s support in the redesign of this year’s celebration and hopes that each and every citizen will visit the festive downtown area this holiday season to support our merchants, restaurants and businesses. The board and staff of Vicksburg Main Street remains committed to growing the economic vitality of our downtown and community.

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Vicksburg father and daughter finish St. Jude marathon together

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(photo courtesy of Philip Doiron)

Vicksburg natives Anna Kate Doiron and her father, Phillip Doiron, finished the virtual St. Jude race together Saturday, Nov. 14, making them two of the first participants of the first virtual marathon hosted by the Memphis children’s hospital.

Both Anna Kate and Phillip began training in June during the height of the pandemic. They met on some weekends in places like Lake Bruin, Louisiana, to train in preparation for what would be Anna Kate’s first marathon.

They traveled to Oxford, Mississippi, last weekend where they had plenty of supporters cheering them on.  Anna Kate and Phillip ran distance of 26 miles in 4 hours and 58 minutes.

During the race, Anna Kate and Phillip made it to Taylor, Mississippi, where some of Anna Kate’s closest friends held signs and cheered them on. Phillips’s wife, Kara, was waiting at the finish line to congratulate her daughter and husband.

Anna Kate posted her excitement on her Instagram page where she shared a photo with her father after completing the marathon.

Phillip, Executive Director and CEO of the Vicksburg YMCA, was thrilled to be able to share his love of fitness with his daughter.

“What started out as a fitness goal turned into some of the best memories that I have had in a long time with her,” Phillip said.

Anna Kate, who was the 2017 valedictorian of St. Aloysius High School, is now a senior at Ole Miss majoring in integrated marketing communications. After the race, the Doiron family stayed in Oxford and continued celebrating as the Ole Miss Rebels defeated South Carolina 59-42.

The race, an annual fundraising event, began in 1977 as the Memphis Express Marathon, and became St. Jude Memphis Marathon in 2002. Since then, it has raised more than $60 million to support the hospital and allow countless children to receive free health care.

St. Jude marathon organizers knew they could not cancel the hospital’s largest fundraiser due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they reinvented the way racing is done. The 19th annual St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend transitioned to an interactive virtual experience taking place over four-months, beginning in August and culminating with a virtual race day Saturday, Dec. 5.

Heather Mullins Williams contributed to this story.

 

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