GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - When the Gulfport Music Fest opens Friday, downtown business hope they will hear the sweet sound of cash registers ringing. Many are making special preparations to lure visitors out of Jones Park and across Highway 90.
Assistant Manager at Red Sky Crab House Justin Cuevas said, "The last time we had the Gulfport Music Festival the downtown was very busy. We are expecting a crowd."
This is the first festival for the Red Sky Crab House, but Cuevas said based on what he knows about it, he is making preparations for a big weekend.
"We are expecting a crowd, we staffed up more than normal for a weekend. Plus, Mother's Day coming around, it's going to be a busy weekend for us, so we are excited," Cuevas said.
The Irish Coast Pub is also beefing up staff for the fest.
"I actually hired a couple extra cooks to come in and help us out," Executive Chef Jamaal Dacus said.
He said while the music brings the people, the entire city benefits.
"It brings the revenue in, brings the customer in and they get a good dining experience," Dacus said.
Marisa Maniscalco with Bacchus said, "Last year was really busy after the music fest. People come in because we stay open and we have local bands come and play."
Bacchus, The Red Sky Crab House and many other downtown businesses have also planned several specials to entice visitors to stop in.
"With events like this we want everything to be flowing downtown," Cuevas said. "People come down that aren't from down here, so we want them to have a great experience so when they do come back, they will come back and see us."
The Gulfport Music Festival kicks off Friday at three and is open again on Saturday beginning at noon.