Just got home from one of our final meetings of the Walker Percy Weekend organizing committee. To the surprise and delight of all of us, this thing is really going to happen — and it’s going to be great. Will people come? has always been the big and scary question to us. Turns out yeah, they’ll come all right: we’ve just about sold out all the tickets to the festival dinners. On Sunday, the Baton Rouge Advocate is, I’m told, running a story about the festival, which will be among the first major promotions locally. We approved making room for 50 more slots at the festival, because we still have time to order more bourbon, crawfish, and other food and drinks to accommodate everybody. But look, when the extra tickets are gone, they’re gone, and we won’t have the wherewithal to print more. If you plan to come to any of the events, buy your tickets now, online, by clicking this link to place your order. We think that we might be able to accommodate walk-ups to the Progressive Front Porch Bourbon Tour, but that’s not a sure thing yet. What a cool thing that’s going to be. Here’s the description:

Front Porch Bourbon Tasting Tour – Saturday

Inspired by Percy’s famous essay, “Bourbon, Neat,” a progressive front porch walking tour and small batch bourbon tasting visiting five porches around St. Francisville’s Historic District. 5 pm–7 pm Saturday

We’ll be mixing juleps following Uncle Will Percy’s recipe, which you can find at the end of the essay. About Walker Percy and bourbon, Michael Baruzzini writes:

To return to more earthly spirits, bourbon is for Percy a way to be for a moment in the evening. Why might one take an evening cocktail? Baser reasons are: an addiction to alcohol, or the desire to appear sophisticated. Better reasons, according to Percy, are the aesthetic experience of the drink itself”the appearance, the aroma, the taste, the cheering effect of (moderate) ethanol on the brain. Another reason is that a drink incarnates the evening; it marks the shift from the active workday to a reflective time at home. One simply must choose a way to be at a five o’clock on a Wednesday evening. Instead surrendering to TV, Percy recommended making a proper southern julep. I prefer my bourbon as an old-fashioned, a drink that reflects the colors of an autumn day. “Love God and do what you will,” Saint Augustine advised. This presumes that you have allowed God’s grace to order you to love properly, and you have taken proper note of your own God-given gifts and dispositions. Then, praise God, and be .

So, yeah, what a treat it will be for everybody to stroll down Royal Street in St. Francisville, drinking bourbon cocktails, making friends, and talking, and making the transition to the pig roast and grilled oysters feast under the live oaks that night. Come spend some time with us, why don’t you? And come meet Win Riley, who will be on hand for the festival, to screen his fantastic documentary about Walker Percy and to talk to folks about it. I literally get chills watching this short preview of the film, which I first saw three years ago. If this doesn’t get you excited about coming to St. Francisville to eat and drink and make new friends and talk about Walker Percy, nothing will: