PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - Saturday’s rain fall did not ruin the crowds for this year’s Spring Street Festival in Picayune. There’s a lot of hope in South Mississippi’s artisan communities as COVID-19 cases go down and festival tents start to rise.
“I predict it’s going to be a very good art circuit this year,” said Kathleen Johnson with Backwater Studio.
She specializes in casual Coastal art pieces that are easy for visitors at the Picayune Spring Street Fest can easily take home.
“I bring this out because this is what the customer’s enjoy,” Johnson said.
She is one of many vendors at the two-day festival eager to conduct business face-to-face again.
“People that walk up to this tent always break out into a smile because it is just a little different,” she said.
Johnson enjoyed this year’s foot traffic after last year’s events were in limbo due to the health crisis.
“Festivals for the artists are the engine that drives their businesses literally,” said Johnson.
The art and culture business is also a big deal for Mississippi. The business brings in more than $2.5 billion, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
That’s something that festival organizers fully understand, giving vendors the tools to thrive after a year of struggles.
“These guys, this is how they make their money,” said Tom Milar, President of Picayune Main Street. “They travel and do this.”
And with art, food and crafts flying off of tables, organizers also look forward to the benefits coming their way like the $45,000 in sales tax. The revenue stream has city agencies working with festival organizers to make things run smoothly.
“The city and us work well together, very well together,” Milar said.
It’s all for the common goal of promoting local talent and making a lasting impression.
“We want to be a destination where people want to come visit,” said city manager Jim Luke. “We want people to retire here.”