Peter Anderson Festival May Have Largest Crowd Ever

Thousands of people visited downtown Ocean Springs on Saturday for what is expected to be the largest Peter Anderson Festival ever. Chamber of Commerce officials say they expect attendance this weekend will exceed 60,000 people, and many of them are tourists. In fact the Anderson festival was selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 events.

Roland and Carmen Begin stumbled into the Peter Anderson Festival while on vacation from New Hampshire. They say the amazing things they've seen have made it one of the highlights of their trip.

Begin said "We just watched some guy making some vases in some kind of wash bucket or something and it came out beautiful looking. I don't know how these people do that stuff. It's really great."

Thousands walked the streets of downtown Ocean Springs looking at exhibits including pottery, jewelry, and yard decorations. Although the Chamber of Commerce promotes the Peter Anderson festival heavily in neighboring states, people come from other parts of the country as well to take part in the festival. Officials say many tourists have become repeat visitors.

Sally Moran of Minnesota said "For us it's a way to get to know the coast a little bit better. We enjoy getting to have a feeling for more of the coast and this is an excuse to come down and walk around it, see it, and learn more about it."

Some vendors say art is an excellent way for tourists to take the flavor of the coast with them.

"There is such diversity," said exhibitor Becky Dennis." There is so many things to choose from. My work kind of reflects the coast. The tourist that come in they like to see that because they purchase a piece and when they go back home they bring that piece of the coast back with them."

The 23rd annual Peter Anderson festival continues tomorrow in downtown Ocean Springs from nine until four.

by Danielle Thomas