Peter Anderson Festival: Art for everybody

Shoppers make their way down Government Street and other areas of downtown Ocean Springs for the Peter Anderson Festival, which returns this weekend.
Shoppers make their way down Government Street and other areas of downtown Ocean Springs for the Peter Anderson Festival, which returns this weekend. SUN HERALD FILE

Mention the first full weekend of November to most South Mississippians, and they immediately will associate it with the Peter Anderson Festival.

Now in its 37th year, the festival to celebrate the arts community will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 7-8 in downtown Ocean Springs.

The event takes up the downtown portion of Washington Avenue and Government Street, with booth after booth of artwork in just about any medium imaginable.

Ceramics, jewelry, paintings and prints, metalsmithing, woodworking, photography, candles and soaps, fiber arts, sculpture, art glass, mixed media, pottery and stoneware, furniture, digital art, printmaking, clothing and packaged foods -- it will be there.

Many artists also offer demonstrations during the festival.

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Art collectors can be found roaming the festival as well as shoppers looking for handmade Christmas presents, and for locals, it can become a combination of a family and high school class reunion.

"There will be more than 400 vendor booths," said Cynthia Sutton, events and public relations manager for the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce-Main Street-Tourism Bureau. "Some vendors have two booths. They're coming from all over the U.S."

An online application process eased the opportunity for more far-flung artists to participate this year, she said.

A new event this year is Young at Art, designed for children whose works have been accepted for display in their own booths.

The special exhibit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 7 will be held on the grounds of the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, right in the middle of the festival at 510 Washington Ave.

"Kids ages 8 to 18 will be able to set up their own booths to sell their own artwork," she said.

What's a festival without food and music?

"This year we're updating the music with a new group of artists," Sutton said. "We're really focusing on local bands. We just want people to hang out and enjoy the entire festival."

Music will be at the Main Stage, off Cash Alley and DeSoto Street next to the Food Court.

About 20 food vendors, with an emphasis on local restaurants, will be part of the celebration.

If you're wondering about parking, start with designated areas offering shuttle service.

"The YMCA and CTA buses will be helping us out once again this year," Sutton said.

Shuttle buses will take visitors to and from the festival from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at three parking areas: Oak Park Elementary, 2230 Government St.; Ocean Springs Upper Middle School, 3600 Hanshaw Road, and Greyhound Stadium, 2730 Bienville Blvd.

Today, Walter is the Anderson who gets most of the art world's attention, but it was his brother Peter who was the original potter of Shearwater Pottery, which was established in 1928.

In fact, Peter's two younger brothers, Mac and Walter, joined him in the pottery two years later.

They built an annex, where they decorated Peter's hand-thrown pots and created original molds to produce castware to be hand-painted.

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