OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - When looking down the endless line of white tents in downtown Ocean Springs during the Peter Anderson Festival, it is easy to become overwhelmed. It's just as easy to spend hours navigating through each vendor, examining each piece.
"The magic starts when they come in and start looking around at the pieces and perhaps they're connecting to a childhood experience, but just to see those smiles on their faces that's everything to us," said Bay St. Louis sculptor Spencer Gray.
There aren't many places an artist can present his work to thousands of people at once, but this year the festival brought more than 100,000 visitors face to face with painters, sculptors and more.
"It takes a lot of showmanship. You can never get tired, but it's been fun. We've met a lot of people, shown a lot of art work and the reception has been just fantastic," said Gray who is a first time vendor at the festival, showing off his sculptures inspired by children's mischief.
According to Cynthia Dobbs who has worked with the festival for many years, the event literally draws people from all over the world. She says it's the variety of items and the community's charm that keeps people coming for more.
"We like to pull a big variety of different things to make it unique," said Dobbs.
While strolling the vendors, you will probably get an ear full from artists who are eager to share their story and inspirations. Take carpenter Greg Harkins who has made two rocking chairs for the White House: one for President Ronald Reagan and one for President Jimmy Carter.
"The people that put on this festival realize and understand that the important things are the vendors and the artists. Even the hot dog vendors, that's important. That's what makes the festival. I'll do this show from now on," said Harkins.
Visitors never know what interesting piece or story is around the next corner, and for many, that's the best part.