OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of vendors set up shop Friday evening for the kickoff of the Peter Anderson Festival. To avoid traffic problems, some downtown streets, like Washington Avenue, will be shut down. But, there is one problem police say will be unlikely to avoid.
"Our concern is people parking in private parking, in people's yard or on city ride-aways where they're not authorized to park," says Captain William Jackson with the Ocean Springs Police Department.
Jackson issues this warning for anyone who might think about chancing it.
"Anybody caught will be ticketed and towed," Jackson said.
Downtown businesses are also getting prepared for the festival. Captain Chris' Paradise Bar and Grill off Robinson Street opened just a week ago. Although the owner says the business has yet to see anything on the level of the festival, he says his staff will handle it the best way it can.
"Smile, with a lot of people coming, that's the only thing you can tell them to do. They're either going to be ready, or they're not. But, as long as they're smiling, we're going to get through," says Jackson.
Police say the best way for people to truly enjoy themselves and avoid any problems is to take simple steps to protect themselves.
"Some people will be parked in outlying areas. They have to make sure to lock their vehicles because they'll be people out there using other means for Christmas shopping. If you have valuables in your vehicle, make sure you conceal them or put them in your trunk.
Despite a few rules and safety precautions, ultimately, the main goal of the festival is a simple one.