OCEAN SPRINGS -- There were tears and hugs and accolades and more tears, hugs, smiles and a toast to the woman whose name is synonymous with Ocean Springs.
Beyond all the awards and board memberships, she is best known for shepherding the Peter Anderson Festival.
Margaret Miller, retiring at the end of the month, was honored Friday afternoon for 28 years with the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce. She is the retiring executive director of not only the chamber but also Main Street and the Tourism Bureau. She wore three hats, and taking her place will be her second-in-command, Cynthia Sutton.
The reception was elegant at the city's Community Center next to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.
City leaders gave her credit for the city's success on many levels, but she seemed especially proud of helping to grow the tax base and leading Ocean Springs from being a bedroom community relying heavily on homeowner property taxes to being a city known for its retail shops and restaurants.
Friday, she wore a purple orchid corsage with a sparkling No. 28. People stood in line to hug her.
With her husband, Greg, her children -- she raised five -- and her many grandchildren, she told the crowd theirs was "a love affair with a town that continues to be incredible."
There were proclamations. The mayor said Miller instilled in the city a vision of what it could be and it rose to that vision.
The festivals she started, the organizations she helped charter were too many to fit on the plaque.
Stacy Pair with Mississippi Main Street brought a letter from the governor. Pair commented on Miller's influence on beautification in the city, saying, "Walk downtown and you're seeing Margaret Miller, her style and class."
The governor's letter praised her work, calling Ocean Springs a city often seen as a model for others.
Among her distinctions is the city's designation in the Top 5 Happiest Seaside Towns 2015 and the Great American Main Street Award 2013. She was inducted into the Mississippi Tourism Hall of Fame in 2012.