- story by Ellis Anderson
The state of Mississippi hosted a bicentennial birthday party in Gulfport this spring, but Hancock County Tourism is bringing history closer to home with two back-to-back events taking place at the Bay St. Louis Depot on June 3rd.
Organizers announced this week that they are hosting both celebrations under the umbrella of “A Bicentennial Tribute to Hancock County.” Festivities are planned from 10am to 4pm.
Headliners are the Hancock County supergroup, "Blueshift," with Tommy Moran, Pete Leoni, Gene Moran, Regan Taylor, and Chuck Lofton. They'll take the stage from 1pm - 2:30pm. Delta Blues artist Vasti Jackson and his band will perform from 3pm - 4pm in this concert that's free to the public.
The popular Bay Rats Marching Battery will also be performing from 10:30 - noon.
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The special exhibit was created with the help of the Hancock County Historical Society. It takes a sweeping look back through time to 1699, when French explorers first built a fort overlooking the Bay of St. Louis.
The exhibit, which consists of several moveable cases, will be permanently on display in the lobby of the Depot, sharing space with the Visitor Center and the Mardi Gras Museum.
Moseley is known best for her whimsical renditions of commonplace scenes from the past, so the festival will feature exhibitors and performances geared to bring history to life.
Local actress Cheryl Grace will be appearing throughout the day as Alice Moseley herself, known for her red beret and humorous stories. Other performers during the day will recreate other colorful characters from Hancock County’s past.
With the new Hancock History exhibit joining the Alice Moseley and Mardi Gras Museums, the board of Hancock County Tourism expects the Visitor Center to be busier than ever. Last year, more than 20,000 people were greeted at the center.
Traditional crafts like black-smithing and pottery will be demonstrated during the festival, while several booths will be offering made-in-Mississippi crafts for sale.
Only work that best fits the theme of the festival will be accepted to show. Fifteen booth spaces will be available and the cost is $50. Those interested can call 228-463-9222 to reserve a space.
The family-friendly event will also offer miniature train rides and old-fashioned carnival rides, as well as local food vendors and live music.
The Hancock History exhibit was funded in part by grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council through support of the Mississippi Development Authority.