The debut of a traveling Smithsonian exhibit brought out at least 700 people to dine and dance in Vicksburg Thursday, with multiple events centered on native bluesman Willie Dixon.
Crowds dodged showers and poured into venues to honor “the poet laureate of the blues,” who would have celebrated his 92nd birthday Sunday.
It was a big start to a big week, with almost daily events leading up to and following the Fourth of July.
An evening jam session, bluegrass pickin' and gospel concert at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center launched the Smithsonian's New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music displays that will be free and open at the center for six weeks. The director, Bess Averett, said by 7:30, with an hour and half left and the crowd growing, at least 700 people had filled the former Catholic school campus downtown.
“Willie Dixon Day,” is what Vicksburg Riverfront Mural Project chairman Nellie Caldwell termed the day of events, which began at 3 when about 40 people endured the heat and gathered along Willie Dixon Way to view the newly installed blues trail marker for the legendary singer, songwriter and bassist.... (read the full story here)