Changes ahead for BridgeFest
By Jennifer Lenain
Feb 26, 2013, 19:31
Big changes are in store for the Bay BridgeFest.
Hancock County businessman Lee Seal on Tuesday officially took over the leadership of the festival at a meeting of the Hancock Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Seal has previously acted as the festival's entertainment chair.
"Under Seal's leadership as entertainment chair, the entertainment line-up was enhanced and became a mini Jazz Fest by the Bay featuring New Orleans style jazz, funk and rock," Hancock Chamber Executive Director Tish Williams said.
“The Bay BridgeFest is our signature event," Mayor Les Fillingame said.
"I cannot think of anyone more qualified, committed and passionate about nurturing the continued growth of this festival than Lee Seal. He cares about the community. He is vested in seeing the economy grow, and under his leadership, the economic opportunities that will be created because of the festival will put Bay St. Louis on the map,” Fillingame said.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to take this event to the next level for my home town," Seal said.
Bay BridgeFest began in 2007 when the new bridge opened over the Bay of St. Louis, replacing the bridge destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. The new bridge was dedicated in honor of Seal's father, the late philanthropist Leo Seal, Jr.
The festival has become an annual event.
BridgeFest features live music, art, coastal cuisine and a 5k run across the bridge.
In 2012, Bay BridgeFest was named the winner of the Large Event of the Year Award by the Mississippi Tourism Association.
A 2012 study showed that Bay BridgeFest attracted more than 27,000 guests and created an economic impact of more than $2 million dollars in the area.
This year, the festival will remain in Bay St. Louis and the date will be moved from June to a weekend in September to be announced later, Seal said.