OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Jingle bells rang over store tops, cinnamon wisped through the air and lights were strung from trees and poles. The streets of downtown Ocean Springs are beginning to look, smell and sound a lot like Christmas.
The old fashioned-themed Christmas festival spread through the downtown area from Marshall Park to Government Street, and the craft vendor fair by Pleasant’s Barbecue was the place where people could continue their holiday shopping on a local scale.
“It’s nice knowing that it’s handmade,” said Ann Maldonado about the local vendors' booths, “and I feel like it’s more unique, like it’s not the same repetitive thing over and over. Everyone has something different.”
Some booths sold food, some sold clothes, and others had art and hand-crafted jewelry, but all of it was made nearby. Festival organizers reached out the local craftsmen to be a part of the two-day event.
"Coming out to support the local vendors, it just brings a sense of family to the community," said Kevin Coles, a pork rind vendor.
The festival was designed to be family-friendly with plenty of activities and events over the course of the weekend, from shopping, hayrides, caroling and even a “snow” machine situated at Sugar and Spice Boutique.
“You can’t have a Christmas without snow," said owner Lu Morgan. She ordered a machine that sprays a thick blanket of foam-like snow. “These little kids, most of them have never seen snow. So the looks on their faces were just priceless to see them playing in it.”
A short walk around the block from Sugar and Spice to Miner's Toy Shop, Santa Claus was busy making sure children were being good for their parents and the other holiday festival goers they might have encountered.
A group of young girls were volunteering at the toy store, demonstrating the specialty toys and games parents might be interested in picking up for their children
The festival was meant to make more people smile and maybe have this festival become an annual family tradition in Ocean Springs.