Ocean Springs To Reinvent 1699 Festival

D'Iberville's landing on the Ocean Springs shores will be the highlight of the new "Celebrate Ocean Springs Festival" this spring. But if history just doesn't do it for you, there's a lot more to do that weekend.

The 1699 Committee is throwing a downtown party that might remind you of a spring time Peter Anderson Festival.

"We'll have over 50 antique dealers in the streets. We'll have a vintage car show. We'll have merchants with specials and sidewalk sales. We've got dining all over Ocean Springs downtown, as you know. So we've got several things," 1699 Committee Member J.R. Wilson said.

Expanding the festival beyond the beachfront is an effort to breathe new life into an event that has lost support over the years. In fact, in 2002 D'Iberville took the year off.

"Times do change. People have a lot of activities they're looking at and all. The history of Ocean Springs is just one of the things we need to preserve, but it also needs to have other things people are interested in."

Like shopping. The many downtown stores like Angie Boman's will offer an option to watching history unfold on the beach.

"So it makes an expanded atmosphere, not just the reenactment on the beach. If you're not interested in that, you can also come and do the shopping downtown and eat and just hang out in the park," Boman said.

She says all the extra activities have the potential to evolve into an April version of the popular Peter Anderson festival in the fall, which brings thousands of people to the city's downtown.

Committee members say they're looking for sponsors and volunteers to help with this year's festival. If you're interested, there's a meeting Monday, February 7th at the Ocean Springs Community Center at 6:30.

The festival is on April 23 and 24th.