Mermaids Arts and Crafts Show
- story by Ellis Anderson
Think full-circle times two: the Krewe of Nereids was formed 50 years ago to help stimulate local economy. A self-supporting group, it hosts fundraisers throughout the year to continue its good work of attracting thousands to the Bay-Waveland area each Mardi Gras season.
Now, their new fundraiser, the Mermaids’ Arts and Crafts Show, will be doing double duty. The show is expected to raise money while attracting thousands to the Bay-Waveland area.
Talk of the Town
Beth Gruzinskas, a longtime Nereids member and in charge of publicity for the arts and crafts show, says that the depot grounds location is perfect in more ways than one.
It offers paths and shade that vendors and patrons both love and lots of parking nearby (St. Stanislaus is offering their field across the street for the event). The historic depot is also just a few blocks from the retail action and restaurants in Old Town’s commercial district.
“We’re calling it a destination weekend,” says Beth. “While people are at the show, they can shop around the rest of Old Town, restaurants and all the businesses. The hotels, the bed and breakfasts and the vacation rentals will also benefit. We’re working to promote the whole area, not just our show.”
The depot location also gives plenty of room for potential expansion in the future. And there’s good reason to think that they’d need it. Bay St. Louis already has a regional reputation as an artists’ colony. While it hosts the popular Arts Alive event each spring, with demonstrating artists and art competitions set up throughout the commercial district, there hasn’t been a dedicated art show in the Bay for at least twenty years.
Mary Ann Pucheu, who’s in charge of the vendors, says the goal is quality. Participating artists must make at least 50 percent of the product they’ll be selling. For instance, a vendor would be able to sell a picture frame, but only if they’ve decorated it themselves.
She says that the applications are coming in daily and will be considered until the show has filled all the available slots. So far, the show has accepted artists who’ll be showing handmade jewelry, pottery, glass and fine art. Vendors can get an application HERE.
Photos of vendors’ work are being posted almost daily on the Mermaid Arts and Crafts Facebook page.
Although the Visitors’ Center, the Alice Moseley Museum and the Mardi Gras Museum in the historic depot will be closed during the event, shoppers will hopefully want to return later. Those who do will find that the Mardi Gras Museum stars a collection of retired Nereids’ costumes.
“All the fantastic costumes on display were designed and made for Nereids,” says Beth. “They’re all amazing — each one is a work of art.”