WAVELAND, Miss. (WLOX) - There’s nothing like some good food to celebrate a long holiday weekend, and there’s plenty of it at the annual St. Clare’s Seafood Festival.
“We have boiled crawfish, we have hot pasta, cold pasta, gumbo, pulled pork. You know, we just want people to come out and enjoy. It’s a great Memorial Day," said food vendor Brent Anderson.
It’s not just the food that keeps people coming out every year. There’s also live music, a classic car show, carnival rides and dozens of arts and crafts vendors.
This is Kathleen Johnson's second year selling her handmade art at the festival, and she loves it.
“It’s a family-oriented community, and this is a family oriented event, and it’s around the church and family, and that’s all the pluses. It just works," Johnson said.
It’s fun for the whole family, all while benefiting St. Clare Catholic Church.
“I continue to do it to raise money for the church. We have a lot of repairs to be done to the church and the grounds, and part of this money also goes to the school tuition for kids that their parents cannot afford to send them to Catholic school," said John Pucheu, co-chairman of the festival.
This year, St. Clare is also celebrating 100 years. Parishioners said it’s a reflection of the church’s resilience.
“We’ve had to rebuild the church twice, after Camille and after Katrina, and after Katrina, we were in a tent for five years, and the parish stuck with us, and we built this beautiful church in 2010,” said Dwayne Punch, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus St. Clare.
In the midst of all the fun and the celebrations, the true reason for the holiday weekend is not forgotten.
“We’re here to remember our soldiers who lost their lives and to be able to honor that weekend and bring support to our veterans who are still here with us and the ones who passed," Anderson said.
The festival continues Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. and will end with a huge fireworks show.