Downtown Bay St. Louis should see an explosion of visitors this Fourth of July weekend. As many as 100,000 people are expected over the next few days.
Two years ago, a friend suggested Sally Wright visit Bay St. Louis. The Tennessee resident says she's been hooked ever since.
"The artists, the atmosphere and we found great restaurants," Wright said.
For Elizabeth Sprang, spending part of the summer in Bay St. Louis is a family tradition that goes back generations.
"It's so relaxing and beautiful. I bring my children over here. Just a great place to come and unwind when you're coming from the big city."
Shop owners say about two thirds of their customers come from out of town and about half of those live outside the Louisiana-Mississippi area.
Jay MacAniff owns a novelty shop.
"The holidays are a good indicator of the type of people that come to town throughout the year. Fourth of July, a lot of people try to spend time outside. If it rains this weekend though, typically, people tend to come shopping."
Once they finish shopping, travelers are sure to be hungry. Crab Fest organizers expected tens of thousands of people to sample their delicious cuisine over the holiday weekend.
"We have people plan their vacations around the Crab Fest," said chairperson Pam Metzler. "We have people from Europe, believe it or not, that plan their vacation to come for the Crab fest. All over the United States, they come for the Crab Festival."
The Crab Festival runs Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 11 am to 11 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.