Success at the Fests: St. Clare, Bay Harbor festivals draw thousands to Hancock County
By Geoff Belcher
May 28, 2013, 23:03
Hancock County native Michael Grimm, now a nationwide star, performs on the Main Stage on Saturday during Bay Harbor Fest in Old Town Bay St. Louis.
Bay Harbor Fest and the St. Clare Seafood Festival drew thousands of people to Hancock County over the Memorial Day Weekend.
From Friday evening through late Sunday, Old Town Bay St. Louis rocked on three separate stages during Bay Harbor Fest, which saw such acts as up-and-coming rockers Blackberry Smoke; New Orleans favorites Kermit Ruffins and Deacon John; and hometown sensation Michael Grimm.
"It was an amazing event," Harbor Fest organizer Mike Rosato said. "I was so happy to see so many people having such a good time, both on Main Street and the Main Stage area.
"Everybody was dancing and laughing and that's what this was all about.
We're so appreciative of the merchants and the people of Bay St. Louis and the mayor and the city council for having the vision to let this happen and we can't wait to take it to the beach and the harbor in 2014."
"My wife and I would like to commend the organizers of our first Harbor Fest," Al Jensen, who runs Serious Bread on Main Street with his wife Vivian, said. "To organize something of this magnitude in two short months was a monumental task.
"Business-wise, this was the best festival that we have participated in since we started baking in Bay St . Louis. ... We hope this will be a continuing event."
Over in Waveland, the St. Clare Festival crowd was just as enthusiastic.
"This has been the best ever," long-time St. Clare festival volunteer Louie Smolensky said Sunday.
Although St. Clare parishioners initially feared Harbor Fest would siphon off some of their crowd when it was first announced two months ago, the seafood festival ended up drawing more people than ever.
"We sold as much food by 2 p.m. on Saturday as we sold all three days (of the event) last year," one volunteer said Sunday.