Entrepreneur Heather Eason has started a business program to give barricades to Ocean Springs. (Photo source: WLOX News)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -
Ocean Springs is becoming one of the biggest festival cities on the Coast. And with that comes people - hundreds of thousands of them.
However, barricades to help keep them safe are hard to come by.
“With all the different festivals we do annually - two different Mardi Gras parades, Peter Anderson is continuing to grow, Cruisin' the Coast is continuing to grow here in the city - it only made sense for us to be acquire that inventory,” said Alderman Matt McDonnell. “And what better way to acquire it than at no cost to the taxpayers.”
The city has only 400 barricades, and needs at least 1,000 more to line just the major part of parade routes.
Heather Eason, who has coordinated the Ocean Springs Mardi Gras night parade for three years, had an idea.
“Honestly, out of pure selfishness because of me not wanting my event to go away, I wanted to come up with a way we could get these barricades,” Eason said.
Eason is buying the barricades herself and paying for them by selling advertising space. Then, they all go to the city, free of charge.
And, for a $350 one-time fee, businesses get about seven years’ worth of advertisement, which is about how long the fences last.
Brandin Bosh, owner of Charisma, is one of about 70 advertisers who have bought into the concept.
“It’s unique, it’s different. It’s going to be seen by people from here, people not from here,” Bosh said. “They’re going to be used for all the big events for the city. All these people are going to be able to see your business and stare at it for hours while they’re standing across the street from it.”
Eason plans to have about 70 barricades ready for Cruisin’ the Coast, and about 400 by next year’s night parade.
“I think it’s just a great program,” Eason said. “It’s good for business, good for the children and it’s good for the city.”
Eason hopes to launch the program in other cities along the Coast and - potentially - nationwide.