Thousands Turn Out For Peter Anderson Festival Despite Rain

They come with the tools of their trade, the instruments of their craft, and of course they bring the finished products of their individual skills and imaginations.

Every year they look forward to the Peter Anderson Festival as the premiere attraction to exhibit their wares.

"This is a huge thing here on the coast," says Ocean Springs Potter Emily Fuqua. "Especially to any coastal artist. They work all spring and all summer long to get to this point so they can meet the community and sell their products and sell their merchandise."

So local efforts to press ahead with the 27th edition of this festival despite the hardships and hazards left by Katrina was welcomed news to the approximately 360 vendors attending.

"I have a friend that lives in the area so I'm staying with that family," says Marilyn Givens of Gulf Breeze Florida.

But no rooms to rent is a hardship Marilyn Givens can both appreciate and deal with.

"I got hit by both hurricane Dennis and Ivan so it was important to come here where another area got hit by Katrina," says Givens.

Jim Gasser of Lineville Alabama is sleeping in his van to be here. He's already sold one of his pieces to a woman who lost hers in the storm and wanted another. Jim says that makes any inconvenience well worth it.

"When something of mine means enough to somebody that they come back and buy another one or tell me how much it meant," says Gasser. "An oil candle during the Hurricane to replace the lights. Hearing these stories is something else."

Something that goes past profit margin and comfort level considerations.

"All the festivals that I had lined up, I thought were just gone," says Tammy Curtis Ellis of  Covington Lousiana. "And for them to get back on their feet and be determined to pull this off, it was uplifting for everybody."