OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - Thousands of people will be flooding into downtown Ocean Springs for the 42nd annual Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival on Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov, 9.
This year, the Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival is going to be a bit more unique as extra precautions are being taken because of COVID-19 to make sure art vendors and guests stay safe throughout the weekend.
While some events, like Trick or Treat Down the Street, are being canceled because of crowd concerns, Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cynthia Sutton believes hosting the Peter Anderson festival is vital for the success of shops in the area.
“This is one of those events just like Cruisin' that literally helps our businesses survive and sustain," Sutton said. “In Ocean Springs, our business is small business.”
On the morning of Nov. 8 Washington Avenue and Government Street will close to traffic and become home to art vendors, but this year, vendors and volunteers will be required to wear a mask. Bus transportation from designated parking areas is also being eliminated to prevent people from crowding into a confined space.
Sutton said the Chamber of Commerce is working with the city of Ocean Springs to provide hand sanitizer stations and also reducing the number of booths from 400 to around 200.
“All the vendor booths are going to be spread out ten feet apart from each other. So we’re actually literally cutting the festival in half," Sutton said. "We’ve eliminated areas like hospitalities, food courts, music areas where folks will actually usually gather and congregate.”
Ocean Springs artist and owner of Twisted Anchor Tatoo and Fine Art Gallery Matt Stebly is a distant relative of Peter Anderson. In years past, Stebly displayed artwork at two booths, but this year he is staying in front of his art gallery.
“I’m glad it’s happening," Stebly said. “There’s always concerns about having that many people in one area. So we’re just going to be set up right here in front of the shop and have all of our shirts and paintings and merch just for everybody to come check out.”