O.S. Merchants Anticipate Another Busy Festival Weekend

Jim Francis enjoyed a peaceful lunch outside his pottery shop.  A peaceful Friday will soon give way to a flood of visitors at the Peter Anderson Art Festival.

"Sixty, eighty thousand people through town. It's decent," he said, with a wry smile.

Many of those visitors will check out his Mississippi Mud Works shop on Government Street.  Experience tells this potter, it will be bustling.

"I'm excited about the festival. This is about our 14th that we've been here. And we look forward to it every year," said Francis, "Even though there will be maybe 30 or 40 potters, I still get my share."

Greg Miller makes certain 300 vendors find the right spot. He and his son spent the morning marking spaces, spray painting lines and numbers on downtown streets.

Ocean Springs public works has a big role in the festival each year: plenty of Port-a-Potties and lots of garbage cans.

Traffic downtown will be blocked off Saturday and Sunday. Washington Avenue and Government Street will be wall to wall with vendors and visitors.

"We are getting ready for the Peter Anderson Festival," said Angie Hurring at Gabbie's On the Avenue, a gift shop on Washington Avenue.

Shelf stocking and merchandise straightening is the order of the day for most downtown shop owners.

"We will show everyone what we do. We do make a lot of artistic jewelry here and also have gifts for women,"she said, as employees kept busy with preparations.

Customer traffic that's decent on a typical weekend downtown, explodes the first weekend in November.

"It's been very good. Very good. And a lot of fun. And a lot of work, but a lot of fun," said Hurring.

The fun begins at nine Saturday morning.

The annual Peter Anderson Art Festival is open from nine until five Saturday and nine until four on Sunday.

As always, festival parking is at a premium. One popular alternative is to park at Ocean Springs High school and ride the free shuttle that takes visitors downtown.