Downtown Ocean Springs Businesses Ready To Make Big Bucks

Mary Ratliff points to the food prep table and said "As you can see, he's filling up.  He's getting all his bins ready".

The kitchen staff is ready and the soup stock is on the stove. Ratliff said "Every year, no matter how much we prep, we always run out".

Things are heating up on the eve of the Peter Anderson Festival, as Bayview Gourmet prepares for a packed house this weekend.

Ratliff said "It's crazy. What we do is we put people at stations, and everybody rotates every two hours, because we max out".

Merchants all along downtown Ocean Springs are putting out their wares, hoping to lure the large crowds. After all, many consider the annual arts and crafts festival their biggest shopping event of the year.

Ashley Gautier owns Gabbie's On the Avenue. She said "We're excited that the weather is a bit colder, because that really gets people in the mood for Christmas shopping".

Gautier added "Last year, we sold out of some things, so this year we want to make sure that we have bigger and better and more items to choose from".

That excitement is new to Eileen Leckich. She co-owns Between Friends and this will be her first time doing business downtown during the festival.

Leckich said "This is our fifth month, so it'll also help get our name out, that we're here. They'll be able to come in and see just how many different styles and different things that we offer".

Whether you're a first timer or a festival veteran like Mary Ratliff, the next two days could serve up a successful start to the holiday season.

Ratliff joked "It's a lot of fun, but it's a lot of work. When Sunday comes, we're over it".

The festival runs Saturday from 9 A.M. until 5 P.M. On Sunday, the hours are from 9 A.M. until 4 P.M. Visitors can donate $2.00 at the gate to help cover the costs of the event.