NatureFEST! is Saturday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Image: Sherry Lucas

By Sherry Lucas

I’ve gotten back to my woodsy roots lately.

These are different woods from ones that skirted my childhood home in Yazoo City. These are in Summit, where my dearest’s acreage is full of pine trees and hardwoods, occasional wildflowers, wild blackberries and more. I wish I could name all the plants and trees that catch my eye. Google has helped out with some of the blooms, a few butterflies and mushrooms, but there’s still a vast landscape that I wonder about every time I take a walk.

That was part of my aim at last year’s NatureFEST! at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science — just learn some more about my surroundings. It was a damp and chilly day, but that didn’t stop the kids from Bio-Blitzing a few shallow ponds and sifting through nets to find the teensiest crawfish I’ve ever seen. That was the real blast!

Saturday’s another chance to scope out the great outdoors with NatureFEST! Cool stuff going on indoors, too, around town. Check it out.

Hear the remarkable story of women Civil War soldiers, as author Shelby Harriel discusses her new book, “Behind the Rifle: Women Soldiers in Civil War Mississippi,” at History Is Lunch, noon Wednesday at the Two Mississippi Museums. It’s free.

Stop by Buffalo Peak Outfitters at Highland Village Wedensday at 5 p.m. for Pint Night with Nemo Equipment with games, giveaways an, of course, free beer.

Kick back at the Compound Wednesdays and Sundays in Fondren, especially this Sunday for a WWE WrestleMania 35 Watch Party, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

The River Hills Open, a USTA Pro Circuit event, continues 10 a.m. to 7 p.m daily through Saturday at River Hills Club, where admission is free and feature matches commence at 5:15 p.m. each day. The event benefits the programs of Catholic Charities.

Fondren After 5 is back on Thursday, 5-8 p.m., with special activities in Fondren’s downtown historic district, with Duling Avenue Live’s mix of music, arts and kids’ fun, the Beacon Makers Market (postponed due to weather), a spring art opening at The Cedars (with paintings by Bewey Bowden, Pryor Lampton, Liz Mehrle and Cleta Ellington) and more.

Rock for free at Cathead Distillery Thursday at 7 p.m. with music from Carver Commodore and More Than This. This is the first stops on the bands’ BOGO Tour. The craft beer bar is open, as well as bar games throughout the space.

Nashville indie rockers Future Thieves perk up the stage at Duling Hall, 8 pm. Thursday, with a sturdy grasp of the road they’re on and the music they’re making. Newscast and Rod Smoth open the show. Tickets are $10 advance (ardenland.net) and $15 day of show.

Future Thieves perform Thursday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

Puppet Arts Theatre’s “The Toad Prince,” a colorful Chinese retelling of “The Beauty and the Beast” story follows Indri the Toad Prince’s tale of physical and spiritual transformation., in a 9:30 a.m. Friday performance at the Bill Waller Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland. Tickets are $8 per person ($5 per person for groups of five or more). The enchanting story will appeal to ages 4 and older.

Puppet Arts Theatre performs “The Toad Prince” Friday at the Bill Waller Mississippi Craft Center. Image: Mississippi Puppetry Guild

Hop on over to Highland Village, 1-5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (through April 19) to get photos with the Easter Bunny. It’s $39.95 per family for an SD card of the photos you can share.

Join Bend & Brew, a free one-hour fitness session with Heidi Hogrefe of Pure Barre MS, is 5-6:30 p.m. Friday at Highland Village.

Dove Award-winning and Grammy and Stellar Award-nominated gospel singer-songwriter-guitarist Jonathan McReynolds brings his spirited music and Make More Room to Duling Hall, 8 p.m. Friday. Also on the bill: Kelontae Gavins, with comedian Travele Judon as host. Tickets are $22 advance (ardenland.net), $25 day of show.

Jonathan McReynolds performs Friday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

The 2019 Art Party at the Mississippi Museum of Art in downtown Jackson, 6:30 p.m.-until on Friday, is a chance to don your most creative cocktail attire and experience art from the inside, in photo vignettes, silent and live auctions and more, with food by chefs Jesse Houston and Alejandra Malmud, and music by the Patrick Harkins Band. Individual tickets are $100.

The Mississippi Museum of Art’s Art Party is Friday. Image: Mississippi Museum of Art

A Silent Headphone Party, 9 p.m. Friday at ISH, offers three DJs spinning different genres to choose, so choose your channel and party. Reserve headphones at ishapril.eventbrite.com.

The 9th annual Hot Diggity Dog 5K, 7-10 a.m. Saturday at the Mississippi School for the Deaf & Blind in LeFleur East includes a professionally timed 5K race and a 1-mile walk, with furry friends and kids welcome. Proceeds benefit the Gallant Hearts Guide Dog Center; register here.

Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival, part of the exciting Art, Wine & Wheels Weekend is Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and again on Sunday from 11 a.m until 5 p.m. at Renaissance at Colony Park. The annual event showcases 100 of America’s finest artists in a relaxed outdoor setting with live music stages and a host of children’s activities.

Ridgeland’s Fine Arts Festival is Saturday and Sunday at Renaissance. Image: Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival.

NatureFEST!, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, promises both outdoor and indoor fun with herpetologist Terry Vandeventer, Bio-Blitz explorations, behind-the-scenes tours, Todd Smith Magic and more. Museum admission is $6 adults, $4 youth ages 3 and older and free for ages younger than 3 and museum members. There’s also a special science workshop for 3rd through 5th graders at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. during NatureFEST! but space is limited and reservations are required for the workshop (email nicole.smith@mmns.ms.us to reserve a spot).

NatureFEST! is Saturday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Image: MS Museum of Natural Science

Visiting artist Tempestt Gilmore leads dance workshops Saturday, at 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Mississippi Children’s Museum.

“Let the Ladies Dance,” 2 p.m. Saturday at Thalia Mara Hall, is Ballet Mississippi’s spring showcase, featuring new and contemporary works choreographed by associate director Cherri Barnett, former National Ballet of Canada soloist Ronda Nychka and choreographer/instructor Maria Konrad. “Paquita Grand Pas Classique” will close the program, with guests artists USA International Ballet Competition bronze medalist Tia Wenkman and her partner Michal Wozniak. Tickets are $19-$29 at balletms.com.

USA IBC bronze medalist Tia Wenkman is the guest artist for Saturday’s Ballet Mississippi performance. Image: Richard Finkelstein

Belhaven University’s annual student invitational art exhibition opens Saturday in the Gallery at the Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center, with a 2-4 p.m. reception.

Sante South Wine Festival benefiting Alzheimer’s Mississippi in partnership with Visit Ridgeland and the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival, is Saturday, 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m., at Renaissance at Colony Park. It’s a rare opportunity for the wine enthusiast to speak directly with the winemaker and features more than 120 exceptional wines and fine food samplings from more than 20 top Mississippi restaurants.

North Carolina duo Mandolin Orange plays a sold-out show, 9 p.m. Saturday at Duling Hall.

Mandolin Orange performs Saturday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

Sherry Lucas, a features writer in Jackson for the last 35 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a curated sampling of creativity and culture from across the metro area. For additional Fondren events, see our online calendar here. Reach Sherry at sherry@finditinfondren.com.

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