Denham Springs Antique Village Filled With Shoppers Enjoying The Return Of The Fall Festival | Livingston / Tangipahoa
The return of the Denham Springs Ancient Village Fall Festival on Saturday, after a year-long absence due to the coronavirus pandemic, drew huge crowds that flooded the city’s downtown historic district.
Shoppers visited a record number of craft stalls set up by vendors from across the region, shopped at neighborhood antique and gift shops, sampled a variety of food items, and listened to live music which kept visitors entertained throughout the day.
The day’s event officially opened at 10 a.m., but parking spaces in the area were at peak times ahead of the start time as visitors from a large area flocked to the festival . An informal survey of craft vendors and shop owners indicated that business was booming as visitors seemed eager to purchase the wide array of items for sale.
Al Bye, president of the Denham Springs Downtown Antique & Merchants Association, event sponsors with Pelican State Credit Union and Visit Livingston Parish, said a record number of visitors filled the downtown area for the fall festival of this year. In recent years, the Fall and Spring Festivals have taken place in the Ancient Village, and Bye said this year’s edition has surpassed all previous such events.
“This year’s festival exceeded our expectations and we are very grateful to everyone who came to our festival,” he said.
Donna Jennings, executive director of Main Street Denham Springs, an organization that helps promote the festival, agreed.
“This fall festival has been a fantastic event,” Jennings said. “The crowd was overwhelming and it seemed like everyone was having a good time. After a year without the Fall Festival, people in and around our community seemed to want to go out and have a good time. I noticed families. who were walking together, friends who gathered in the streets to chat and enjoy the camaraderie, and everyone was just enjoying a day together in our historic district.
Jennings said the festival represents a lot of effort on the part of many. The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Denham Springs Fire Department set up booths focused on educating young festival visitors. Healing Place Church had inflatable boards to entertain the young people. Live music on the station stage featured several bands.
Bye said that weeks before the festival, vendors rushed to file requests to participate. “We had 160 vendors at the festival, the maximum number we can accommodate, and they were all eager to participate. We had no trouble filling all the available spaces, ”he said.
One such salesperson, Floyd Sullivan, who sold handmade wooden toys, said business was going well and even though it was early in the day sales were flat. Sullivan said it was his fourth time setting up his booth at the Fall Antique Festival and added that he always did well at the event. He said he works on creating wooden toys and other items throughout the year and sells his creations at various shows and festivals.
Kathy Benton Harris, who looked after customers at Benton’s Antique Mall, said she was thrilled the fall festival was back. “I have welcomed and met clients all morning, and I am delighted to welcome all of our visitors to the Ancient Village.”
Foodie visitors kept Christine Kent busy selling cupcakes and other delicacies. She said it was her first fall festival, but she was enjoying the experience. “I make all of my items from scratch, and I think they’re really good, and so far people who buy my cupcakes seem to like them. It’s fun to be a part of that, ”she said.
Gerry R. Coryell, President and Chief Engineer of the Cajun Yankee and Southern Railroad, entertained curious visitors who flocked to the model trains that he and other members of the Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders were demonstrating outside the hotel museum of Old Denham Springs Town. Coryell has been busy answering questions about model railroading from a constant stream of visitors.
Jennings said the success of the Fall Antique Festival is the result of weeks of planning and hard work by the Downtown Antique & Merchants Association and many other groups and individuals who sponsor the festival.
“There are many good people working to organize this special event, and they are doing an important service to our city,” she said. “The huge success of today’s festival shows us once again that historic downtown Denham Springs remains an important part of our city. People love coming here to explore the shops and stalls and purchase the many items for sale The whole community can be thankful to those who made it all possible It was a tiring but fun day for those who organized this event so successfully.