Taste of Ocean Springs highlights best of city cuisine

Jackson County is home to many amazing local restaurants. Not only does the area obviously offer some incredible seafood, but there are so many different kinds of cuisines available just within the city limits of Ocean Springs. Downtown Ocean Springs is home to restaurants that offer steaks, seafood, pizza, barbecue, Mediterranean dishes, Southern favorites and so many more. Thanks to events like Taste of Ocean Springs, community members are able to sample all of that food in one place in one night. 

Featuring 20 different restaurants and 10 different wine brokers, the 9th Annual Taste of Ocean Springs Food and Wine Festival was sold out with everyone excited for this unique event. 

IMG_0344 Taste of Ocean Springs highlights best of city cuisine
IMG_0344 Taste of Ocean Springs highlights best of city cuisine

“We sold 500 tickets this year, so we have an amazing crowd and in addition to that we have a lot of fun stuff this year,” explained Cynthia Sutton, Executive Director with the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce. “We’re featuring a master potter Anita Hughes, so we have her vases on all the tables. We partnered with Mercedes-Benz, and we’re showing some of their cars here. We’re doing some fun giveaways with our partners like Golden Nugget, so it’s just a lot of great things happening here.”

However, with all of the wonderful additions to the event, everyone gathered at the L & N Depot for the star of the night: the food. The evening breeze carried the enticing aromas through downtown. The crowd looked like something out of My Fair Lady with the dress code asking attendees to dress in red, white or black, adding to the elegant atmosphere of the outdoor festival. 

So many different dishes were available at Taste of Ocean Springs that anyone could have found a dish to enjoy. French Kiss Pastries offered a decadent Tuxedo Cake with chocolate and espresso. Greenhouse on the Porter had a light chocolate chip biscuit. Chefs from the Mary C. Cafe at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural center offered Chipotle Sweet Potato Biscuits with Beer and Bacon Jam. McElroy’s had shrimp and grits as well as seafood gumbo samples. Vestige allowed attendees to sample a grilled pork loin. Different pizzas were offered from Tom’s Extreme Pizzeria as well as Marco’s Pizza for anyone that wanted felt the need for some comfort food.

Anyone looking for something to wash all of this amazing food down did not have to look far, because it felt like every other booth offered a unique cocktail. Mango sangria made with tequila, Mississippi Mules based with honey suckle vodka distilled in the Magnolia State and so many more concoctions were available for sampling.

Not only did this event allow community members to sample different dishes from Ocean Springs restaurants, but it also served to benefit the local economy of downtown Ocean Springs.

“It brings a big economic impact to the Gulf Coast and Jackson County,” Cynthia explained. “We have people come from all over that will stay in our boutique hotels and spend the night just to be able to attend this event. Restaurants will get new customers out of this event, and it showcases the best that Jackson County has to offer.”

As for what’s in store next for Ocean Springs, Free Food Fridays is continuing through the month of May, and Ocean Springs Restaurant Week will begin May 13 to further celebrate the dining culture of Ocean Springs. 

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Children display artwork at Walter Anderson museum

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The Mississippi Gulf Coast has been home to many visual artists, from George Ohr to the Anderson brothers: Walter, Peter and James.

Saturday, the Walter Anderson Museum of Art offered burgeoning local artists a chance to experience having their work on display. 

“Every year the Walter Anderson Museum of Art hosts a student art show featuring artwork from children living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Brandi Bryant Hoxie, an Ocean Springs resident and art teacher at Popp’s Ferry Elementary in Biloxi. Hoxie had 77 student entries in this year’s art show. 

This show in particular is rather unique because it is exclusive to artists under the age of 18.

“Every year the show has a new theme based on a children’s book. The artwork must be inspired by that year’s book/artist,” Hoxie explained.

This year’s theme was based on the works of Eric Carle, best known for “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

“My students have participated in the show the last 3 years,” Hoxie said. “This is such an amazing opportunity for young children to have their art on display at an amazing museum. The Walter Anderson Museum of Art does a fabulous job of organizing and hosting this pop-up art show. I look forward to this art show every year with my students.”

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The Mary C presents Sugarcane Jane in August

The Mary C O’Keefe Cultural Center brings many wonderful musical performers, and this August they will have Sugarcane Jane.  

On Saturday, August 19, the Alabama husband and wife team will share their talents playing in Ocean Springs.  Anthony and Savana Lee Crawford write and perform their dynamic, homegrown, earthy kind of Americana.  Their shows will calm you while at the same time have you wanting to clap and jump up to dance.  

Anthony Crawford has played with some famous names in music business.  Over the course of the last 25 years, he has performed with Neil Young, Sonny James, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill, Rosanne Cash, and more.  Anthony has written and co-written songs recorded by Steve Winwood, Dwight Yoakam, Kenny Rogers and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  Sugarcane Jane will be releasing a new album later this year.

The Mary C O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs offers a wonderful chance to catch this duo play in a relaxing concert atmosphere.  Support our cultural center tickets are available now on-line www.themaryc.org.

Listen to a song from Sugarcane Jane’s soon to be released album.

 

Day/Date: Saturday, August 19th

Time: 7:00p.m.

Price: Members: $15.00/ Non Members: $20.00

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Children have Easter fun in downtown park

As Easter Sunday closes in, children across Jackson County are getting their baskets ready for all of their candies and treats.

Dozens of children and their parents gathered Saturday morning at Little Children’s Park in downtown Ocean Springs for a bevy of Easter activities.

Not only could children explore the park for hidden Easter eggs, but hunts were even divided by age group to give all children a chance to grab some goodies. 

With the enthusiasm of every child, each hunt only lasted a few minutes before all of the eggs were snatched. However, there were plenty of other Easter activities for all attendees.

Throughout the park, children could decorate their own holiday tote bags or win prizes at Easter-themed carnival games. Children could pin the tail on the Easter Bunny or get a strike in Easter bowling.

The park was filled with music to keep everyone in lively spirits. Along with the sunny but cool weather, it was a great morning for everyone to get in the Easter spirit.

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MGCCC student wins welding sculpture event at state competition

DSC_6641fxs MGCCC student wins welding sculpture event at state competition

For most people, switching from nursing to welding as a major might seem an odd choice.  For Mary Majchrzak of Ocean Springs, welding seemed like a natural thing to do because she has always enjoyed working with her hands to complete do-it-yourself projects. “I’ve always been into things like woodworking and working on my Harley, so I’ve never been afraid to jump in and try things I haven’t before.” 

It was actually her DIY penchant that led her to taking welding classes.  “I needed to weld a piece in a project I was working on.  I checked out the types of classes I could take and ended up falling love with welding in the process.”  Now, she is set to graduate this summer.

“I know it is hard to believe that I would make such a big jump from science with nursing to this, but there is actually a lot of science in welding.”

She has proven her talent with the science part of welding by winning first place in Welding Sculpture at the state SkillsUSA competition held in March.  She will be competing at nationals in June. 

“Different metals react to different levels of heat in different ways,” she said.  “And you can do different things with different metals.  That’s what I like, figuring it out.”

She made a bouquet of roses in a vase for her welding sculpture.  Each flower is intricate and lovely.  The rose stems are exact as is the vase.

“I was very proud of what I’ve made for my first attempt at sculpture. I got a lot of help from my instructor in what metals to use for what, temperatures, techniques.  It has truly been a learning process.”

Along with the sculpture itself, she had to present a portfolio that showed the work in progress on the sculpture as well as notes on how she completed the process.

“It was sort of a grueling process to put the book together,” she said.  “But I love scrapbooking, too, so I also really enjoyed it.”

She said the decision to enter the contest was sort of last minute.  “I am the president of the SkillsUSA club on campus and I discovered that no one was planning to enter.  I just knew that couldn’t happen and I ended up choosing the sculpture category.  I’m glad I did.”

Majchrzak, originally from Vermont, ended up in Mississippi because her husband, Tyler, is in the Seabees.  She actually rode her Harley down from Vermont when she moved here in 2013 (her husband was already on the Coast by the time she made the trip).

“I guess you could say that I’m non-traditional in my approach to things,” she said.  “I’m also an overachiever.  I believe in doing things myself rather than getting someone else to do it.  I think that is why welding is a great occupation for me.  It fits my personality well and goes to prove what I always say: ‘Anything is possible if you try hard enough.’”

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Downtown sees Ocean Springs art festival

Sunshine peaked through the leaves of the live oak trees along Washington Avenue as vendors lifted their tents and organized their merchandise. The spring wind blew the smell of kettle corn and sounds of Caution Swing Bridge through Robinson Street. It was the weekend of the Spring Arts Festival.

In its 24th year, the festival is all about celebrating spring by offering an array of paintings, pottery, jewelry, plants, clothing and much more.  This free event also featured live music, artist demonstrations and educational sessions.

People of all ages stopped by tents to browse the works of regional artists, unique clothing pieces and handmade jewelry. 

Of course spring means flowers blooming, so there were plenty of vendors also offering an array of seedlings such as fruits, herbs and other plants.

While the rain did cut the first day of the festival short, the weather stayed sunny long enough for plenty of people to enjoy the event and browse the vendors.

The sunshine even made the perfect environment for some homemade ice cream, one of the numerous food options available at the festival. 

Everyone coming out on the last weekend of March made for the perfect departure for the cold days of winter and warm welcome to the beautiful days of a Mississippi spring.

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Ocean Springs school offering tuition for advanced courses

Ocean Springs School District will accept nonresident students interested in pursuing classes in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program or the Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone program.

Nonresident students are those whose primary residence is outside of the Ocean Springs School District boundaries. 

This opportunity will allow students outside of the district a chance to still pursue more rigorous coursework in preparation for higher learning. 

For more details, visit the website or call 228-875-0333.

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Community Gathers to Fight Disease

chevron-MS-walk-1 Community Gathers to Fight Disease

The Chevron team poses at the MS walk on Saturday, March 11 in Ocean Springs.

chevron-MS-walk-1 Community Gathers to Fight Disease

Pat Wiley poses with the rest of his team at the MS Walk in Ocean Springs on March 11.

Runners, walkers and volunteers alike gathered along the beach in Ocean Springs Saturday morning all working toward one cause, to end multiple sclerosis. 

The Mississippi Gulf Coast chapter of Walk MS hosted its annual walk March 11, with numerous participants turning out to help those affected by multiple sclerosis, donating time and money to the cause.

Pat Wiley lives with this disease, and participates in multiple fundraisers like Saturday’s walk.

“I’ve been working with this for years with various fundraisers and to see people from all walks of life come together, it really is inspiring,” Wiley said.

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is characterized by damage to an individual’s nervous system caused by the immune system. When impulses traveling to and from the brain encounter these damaged nerves, the signals are distorted, creating a wide variety of symptoms. 

According to the National MS Society, the disease is thought to affect roughly 2.3 million people in the world; however, the disease is difficult to diagnose, as there is no single, definitive test for MS.

The team from Mississippi Power is currently the top team with nearly $3,000 raised in donations.

Other top teams include Making Strides for Shannon at $1,240 raised and Navigator Credit Union at $1,210 raised. But for people like Wiley, it isn’t all about the size of the donation.

“Every donation, no matter how large or small, counts because they all go together,” he said. This organization is the largest collector of funds to help bring an end to MS.”

Donations raised at Saturday’s walk will go toward multiple avenues of aid to those affected by MS.

“The money goes for a variety of things,” Wiley said. “This association is the biggest funder of research, but also to provide services to people who can’t afford. So it’s everything to providing to people suffering from MS to providing research dollars that go into treatments and cures of this disease.”

Anyone who was unable to attend the walk but would still like to donate can still do so at the National MS Society at nationamssociety.org/donate.

“It’s going to take all of us working together to bring an end to this disease,” Wiley added.

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