Festival-goers soak up art, ambiance, rain
OCEAN SPRINGS -- Artists, collectors and casual observers soaked up the ambiance and some rain in downtown Ocean Springs on Sunday, the final day of the 37th annual Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival.
People came in pairs or groups, wearing rain gear or having it close at hand. Parents pushed babies in strollers and pulled toddlers in wagons. And some leashed their dogs and brought them along.
Rick Tanner of Ocean Springs stopped to admired glazed pottery in a break from drizzling rain.
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"I come every year and usually buy a piece or two of art for my home," Tanner said.
"It's a wonderful atmosphere and it's really great for our community."
About 150,000 people normally attend the festival, considered one of the premier arts and crafts fests in the nation. It's held in honor of ceramist Peter Anderson, who founded Shearwater Pottery in 1928, and to celebrate the arts community.
Tens of thousands attended this weekend's gathering. Final numbers were not immediately available to see how the rain affected attendance.
The only thing missing was good weather, said Sara Lierly of New Orleans. She's a mixed-media artist and specializes in recycled art.
Mona Grable of Hattiesburg stopped to admire a piece of Lierly's recycled art: a colorful peacock fashioned from a green rake with forks for feet. Grable said she's been coming to the festival about eight years.
"I'm not artistic at all," Grable said, "but I am so amazed at how someone can make something like this."
Hagan G. Danish of Ocean Springs played jazz music at his booth that displayed organic art.
"It's my first time to show my work," Danish said. "I have a studio in my living room and decided to give this a try. What I'm enjoying most of all is watching people look closely at my work."
Twin toddlers Charlie and Samuel Hardesty of Cleveland, Miss., appeared content while eating pizza in a red wagon.
"Pizza and puppies. That's what they're enjoying the most," said their mother, Natalie Hardesty.
They came to the festival with Natalie Hardesty's parents, Bert and Lydia Pickard of Biloxi. Bert Pickard carried a box of Tato Nut Shop doughnuts.
It wasn't the first Peter Anderson Festival for many of the vendors.
It was a first for award-winning ceramist Myron Whitaker of Kannapolis, N.C., who shows his work nationwide and has a passion for Raku firing. He brought an assortment of his glazed pottery to the festival.
"It's been enjoyable," Whitaker said.