Triangle’s revitalization efforts continue with new monthly street markets. Residents invited to preview Monday. – Mississippi’s best community newspaper

The inflatables may be gone, but efforts to revitalize and rejuvenate the Triangle at Natchez continue to grow with the introduction of monthly street markets filled with food, crafts, live performers and more.

To kick off the new monthly event, organizers are planning a preview street market for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday.

Joseph Smith, founder of BlackNatchez.org, said Monday’s market will give the community a little taste of what will be offered every first Saturday of the month in the historic Triangle neighborhood of downtown Natchez, where find St. Catherine Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Street intersect.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays and then every first Saturday of the month, vendors will set up shop in the Triangle district to serve customers.

Shiela Prunty, who is the logistics and planning director for the project, said everything from food, sweets and local produce to jewelry, crafts and other merchandise will be donated.

On Monday, Rolling River should be on hand, ready to serve up its famous vegan chili and other delicious dishes. Busy Being Amazing will sell handmade organic soy candles and K&K Treats will serve hot chocolate for cold weather.

Project Director Augusta Smith said they expect a strong turnout and hope those who come for the annual MLK Day Parade will stop by to shop, explore and enjoy.

Markets are an opportunity to build community, said Augusta Smith.

“One of the reasons we’re having the first Saturday Market is because we want to unify our community by hosting it right downtown,” said Augusta Smith. “We want to bring the community together; show some love.

Joseph Smith agreed.

“We really want the first Saturday Market to be a community driven event. We contacted health care providers to perform COVID testing on site,” Joseph Smith said.

NAMI Mississippi is also expected to be on hand to talk about mental health issues.

Joseph Smith said he hopes local law enforcement and fire officials will also bring their cars and trucks for the children to see.

In December, BlackNatchez.org held a holiday display of inflatables in front of businesses and landmarks in the Triangle and along Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Joseph Smith said the first Saturday Market is another step toward bringing new energy to the historic district.

“We are working very hard to revitalize the MLK Triangle area, which for many years has been an area filled with burns,” Joseph Smith said. “The market is one of the many ways we hope to breathe new life into this area, bringing people in and reinventing what this space can be.”

Anyone interested in being a vendor can sign up for the “First Saturday Natchez” Facebook page, a $55 vendor fee is for resources to publicize the event, Joseph Smith said.

“Any remaining money goes to our planned beautification project,” Joseph Smith said.

Beautification efforts will include trees and other plantings. One of the goals is to transform the Triangle into what was envisioned in the city master plan, Joseph Smith said.

“The city master plan has a rendering of the MLK triangle renamed to Hiram Revels Plaza,” said Joesph Smith.

A former minister at Zion Chapel AME Church in Natchez, Revels was the first African American to serve in either house of the US Congress.

“Soon we will begin to see work being done in this area to realize the green space that was rendered in the master plan,” Joseph Smith said. “Our hope is that as this space changes, people will get used to coming to visit us in part because of our first Saturday gatherings.”

Joseph said he hopes Monday’s preview market is just the start of good things to come for the Triangle and downtown Natchez.

“We really want this to reflect the best of Natchez. We want this to be something the community looks forward to every month,” Joseph Smith said. “We want it to be a place where you can bring the family and do some shopping, hang out, meet new people and support some local businesses.”

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