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Our view: Saturday: The REAL first day of spring




Officially, the date is March 20, but it is our opinion that the first day of Spring does not arrive until you get off the sofa, out of the house and enjoy some outdoor fun. 


With that in mind, Saturday is looking a lot like the first day of Spring here in the Golden Triangle. 


No doubt, the forecast (sunny, calm winds, temps in the high 60s), will compel many to work in their yards or gardens or maybe head for a favorite fishing hole. 


Certainly, there are many continuing events, such as the Columbus Pilgrimage, which runs through April 12, that will attract a crowd. 


But Saturday offers a range and volume of events that truly makes it one of the busiest days of the year here. From 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., the Golden Triangle will offer a variety of health, educational, cultural and entertainment events that are bound to pique the interest of even the most dedicated couch potato. 


The Hitching Lot Farmers' Market kicks off the day with what organizers call a "soft opening," with local producers offering their early spring vegetables, food stuffs and crafts. The market's official opening will be celebrated on May 10, but who wants to wait? 


While in the area, you may also be tempted to join in the first Mayor's Health Walk, at the Riverwalk. The walk will be held every first and third Saturday and begins at 8. It is sponsored by the city of Columbus, MUW and Mississippi Home Care. 


Walkers will finish up in plenty of time to go next door to the Tennessee Williams Home to check out the art work of local artists at Artisan's Alley (9 a.m. until 2 p.m.). Right dab in the middle of that event, local authors Deborah Johnson, Michael Farris Smith and Rufus Ward will be signing their recent books in the Tennessee Williams home. 


If your day starts in Starkville, you have a couple of really good options, beginning with MSU's School of Veterinary Science's Open House, which runs from 9-11 a.m. You can follow that up with a trip to the heart of the MSU campus for the school's annual International Fiesta. It has been noted that when MSU is in session, Starkville is the most diverse city in the state and the International Fiesta certainly confirms it. MSU students from dozens of countries will fill the MSU Drill Field, providing an opportunity for visitors to learn about the food, dress, customs and culture of other countries. It is always a thoroughly entertaining, informative event. 


As for afternoon events, The Wings Over Columbus air show at Columbus Air Force Base offers a chance to marvel at the skills of some of the world's best pilots. The event (10 a.m. until 5 p.m.) features the first local appearance of the famed Thunderbirds in four years. It also includes nine other aerial acts. Bring your lawn chairs, but leave your pets and coolers at home.  


Those who are inclined to focus on healthy endeavors who may have started the day at the Hitching Lot to shop for healthy foods and joined the crowd at the Mayors Health Walk may find the Sally Kate Winters 5K run in West Point the perfect way to end the day. The run, held in downtown West Point, is the major fund raiser for Sally Kate Winters Family Services, which provides help to abused and neglected children. A one-mile Fun Run begins at 5:30, followed by the 5K event at 6. 


It's pretty clear that unless you are incapacitated or incarcerated, there is no real reason to stay home Saturday. 


After a long, hard winter, Spring is here. 


It would be a shame not to enjoy it.



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