Ocean Springs Merchants Praise Weekend Festival Crowds

Merchants in downtown Ocean Springs were catching their breath Monday.

They're recovering from the record crowd that attended the coast's most popular arts festival. The annual Peter Anderson festival attracted an estimated one hundred twenty five thousand visitors.

And those crowds mean customers for local businesses.

"Oh, she really needs a hair do, doesn't she?", asked John Miner, as he rearranged some dolls on a front porch display.

If only the toy store dolls could talk, they'd tell about the hectic weekend.

"The chamber does a fantastic job of putting this on. It was wall to wall people inside the toy store," said Miner.

Traffic moved slowly under the oaks late Monday morning, while a few visitors strolled the sidewalk.

It's tough to tell the downtown was wall to wall people Saturday and Sunday.

"Well, of course it draws a crowd, and crowds never hurt," said merchant, Eileen Wilson.

Many festival visitors wandered into Wilson's store to get a head start on Christmas shopping.

"I think people are looking for folk art. Some are already doing their Christmas shopping. So they're kind of perusing the nicer gifts," she explained.

Strolling the streets of downtown Ocean Springs shopping for arts and crafts can certainly work up one's appetite. That's why thousands found the courtyard at Al Fresco restaurant the perfect place to unwind and grab a bite to eat.

"This Peter Anderson festival was unbelievable. It's been great for the whole community. Great for our business and for every business in downtown Ocean Springs," said restaurant owner, Jamie Sablich.

It's a perfect pre holiday boost to get merchants ready for the busy season.

The Peter Anderson arts festival is always the first weekend in November.