OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - As the biggest fine arts event in the state, it takes a lot to put on the two-day Peterson Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival in Ocean Springs.
"It's the biggest thing we do," said Cynthia Sutton with the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce. "It literally takes nine to 12 months to put the festival together."
With the 39th annual event approaches this weekend, preparations are starting to speed up. Last year's economic impact study showed that more than 150,000 people crammed into downtown Ocean Springs, and it generated about $24 million to the community, and 2017 could be the biggest yet.
"We have more volunteers than we've ever had signed up for this festival," Sutton said. "And we have more vendors than we ever have had. Almost 500 vendors," Sutton said.
But, it's also good for retail business. Jacqueline Ladnier, the owner of French Kiss Pastries, is stocking up.
"We do a phenomenal business during the Peter Anderson Festival," said Ladnier. "We have thousands and thousands of people that walk through the door."
Ladnier had more than 1,000 business cards printed just for this weekend.
"We are so exhausted by Sunday at 6 p.m. we just all want to go home and crash," she said.
It's the same down the street at Hillyer House. Staff begins to prepare during the summer.
"It's definitely, I'd say the biggest event for us and it really just gets us rolling right into the holiday season, which is a super busy time for us," said manager Susannah Snyder. "This is kind of like our big kickoff."
The big benefit for everyone is repeat customers.
"It's just exciting to meet new customers and new faces and they honestly come back every year," said Cassey Toney of Lee Tracy. "They look forward to coming back, they know the store, they remember the store and so we get excited to see them."
The festival is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and will include art demonstrations, young artists exhibits, and the traditional Blue Moon Art Project.
Learn more about the Peter Anderson Festival from our friends at Gulf Coast Weekend: http://www.gulfcoastweekend.com/peter-anderson-festival-guide/