Ocean Springs retailers look forward to art festival

By Doug Walker - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - This weekend, the quiet streets of Ocean Springs will be filled with thousands of shoppers during the annual Peter Anderson Arts Festival. But the artists' booths aren't the only places to find great treasures. The festival is also a big deal for the small shops that call Ocean Springs home.

Jeannie Stevenson is one of those shop owners.

"It is huge and it brings a lot of people into town that have never been into Ocean Springs, and they discover everything that we have here, which is a lot," Stevenson said.

Last year's festival was the biggest ever, according to city officials. And that means a lot of people with cash in hand. With 100,000 people expected in downtown Ocean Springs for the festival, getting folks into the stores has never been a problem. The challenge is, getting them to spend a little bit of money.

Stevenson may have the answer in good old southern hospitality.

"They walk in, they eat snacks, they have iced tea. We even have wine, so they enjoy themselves."

Just down the street, Mickie Miller's store caters to man's best friend.  It's called Two Dogs Dancing. And with all the dog walkers at the festival, Miller is dancing for joy.

"It's wonderful," Miller said. "People have their dogs out, I sell a lot of  carriers and strollers that day because their dogs get tired of walking and they're tired of carrying them."

So how does this coming weekend compare to the Christmas shopping season?  Miller has a definite opinion.

"It's my biggest weekend of the year," Miller said. "I think a lot of retailers down here would say that."

Click here to learn more about the Peter Anderson Festival, including a list of vendors and schedule of events.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.