March 20, 2010 9:19:00 PM
Jan Swoope - firstname.lastname@example.org
When Columbus hosts its 70th annual Spring Pilgrimage April 5-17, the hospitality mat will be out and the events varied.
Visitors from across the country, as well as abroad, will make the Friendly City their destination, joining us in discovering some of what makes Columbus unique.
With historic homes including Riverview, Snowdoun, Bryn Bella, Corner Cottage and Hamilton Hall returning for the 70th anniversary, Pilgrimage offers more than 20 compelling homes, churches and gardens dressed in spring finery to explore by day and candlelight.
In addition to stimulating tours, the busy two weeks includes a roster of stand-out events.
Block party and more
Join the community for a crawfish boil, po'' boys and live music by Flashpoint April 5 at the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center as Pilgrimage kicks off with a celebratory block party from 5-8 p.m. Then drive on down to Friendship Cemetery on Fourth Street South as award-winning Tales From the Crypt takes opening night honors.
Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science students return for their 20th year, bringing to life some of the storied cemetery''s most interesting individuals through dramatic vignettes April 5, 7, 9, 12, 14 and 16 between 7 and 10 p.m. (Be sure to arrive no later than 9:30 p.m.)
Then there''s Grilling on the River April 9-10 along the Riverwalk. This Kansas City Barbeque Society Magnolia State Championship will offer visitors a tasty stop and festivities from 4-11 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.
Don''t forget the Giant Possum Town Yard Sale April 10, from 7 a.m.-noon at the Hitching Lot Farmers'' Market. Find treasures as your neighbors clean house, some of them holding multiple family sales to benefit charities like Relay for Life or organizations such as the Columbus Arts Council. Spaces ($20) are going fast; go to www.columbusmainstreet.com to download a vendor application, or call Main Street Columbus at 662-328-6305. All sellers must register in advance.
As Noon Tunes returns for spring, indulge in music and lunch outside at the Welcome Center April 8 and 15 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Pilrimage Saturdays are filled with activities. On April 10, visit Artisans Alley and Living History at the Welcome Center from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., or test yourself in a 10K race. On April 17, join the Mayor''s Unity Picnic at the Riverwalk from 5-8 p.m. after taking in the second annual Tour of Kitchens benefiting the Columbus Girlchoir from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
All these events, plus weekend rides in Carl Woods'' restored horse-drawn carriage, join the 70th anniversary celebration. Complete details are found in brochures at the Welcome Center, 300 Main St., or contact the sponsoring Columbus Cultural Heritage Foundation and Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau at 662-329-1191 or 800-920-3533.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.