OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of visitors will converge on downtown Ocean Springs Monday for a three day conference called "Destination Downtown." Some Ocean Springs business owners say they've been preparing to welcome the guests.
"We've been painting and cleaning and sprucing up, getting ready for our visitors," said Kay Shafer.
Frenchie's Bistro is usually closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but this week, owner Kay Shafer is making an exception.
"We'll be here to serve the conference goers. We're looking forward to showing them some of our great fresh seafood and wonderful steaks and a little Southern flair," said Shafer.
More than 200 visitors from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas will be in Ocean Springs for the regional Main Street conference. The Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce will be showing the group what downtown areas on the coast have to offer.
"We're hoping that they will just really get to experience what Ocean Springs is all about. The natural beauty of the area, and the wonderful hospitality," said Shafer.
There will be three tours for participants to experience. The Ocean Springs tour will feature lunch at a historic home, followed by a tour of Crooked Letter Brewery. The owner of Kwitzky's bar is hoping the crowd has a nightcap on Government Street.
"Our night life that we have going on down here, we're real happy about that. Restaurants are great, and just the people in general are fantastic," said Kris Kwitzky.
Business owners say their hope is that these visitors leave with a better understanding of what the coast has to offer, and an admiration for the individuality of downtown Ocean Springs.
"Most of the people here are not afraid to try something, which a lot of other places don't do that. We just want to try to make Ocean Springs, or any of the other cities along the Coast, something unique that everybody would like to come and see," said Kwitzky.
Other sessions of the conference will be held at the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center, and there will be a street party Tuesday night at Boots and Spurs. The conference's keynote speaker will be Patrice Frey, President and CEO of the National Main Street Center, Inc.