DENHAM SPRINGS — Cash registers rang, shoppers shopped and the rain rolled through early Saturday morning to make way for the Denham Spring's Spring Festival.
After a 2020 cancelation because of the threat caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the always popular festival in the city’s Antique Village returned on April 24, to large crowds who turned out despite the threat of rainy weather that roared through the area earlier in the day.
Donna Jennings, executive director of Main Street Denham Springs, said “the Spring Festival in the Antique Village was all we could ask for and more. As I walked through the Antique Village and ventured into a number of the shops, all I saw were happy, smiling faces. It just seemed to me that the visitors who so enjoy our Spring and Fall Festivals were very excited to once again be able to come out and enjoy this fun event. It was a great day and the vendors and merchants were happy to be back.”
Recalling the early morning storm, Jennings recounted, “I woke up at 3 a.m. and the rain was falling and the wind was blowing and my only thought was that we would not be able to hold the festival once again. But when the sun came up, the skies cleared, and by the time I made it downtown early in the morning, the vendors were all set up and people were already walking up and down the streets.”
Jennings said that 140 vendors set up their booths along the center of La. 16 that runs through the heart of the Antique Village. She said the vendors she talked to all reported doing a substantial amount of business. “The vendors were happy and so were the shop owners. All indications are that the shop owners were very pleased to once again be able to welcome large groups of customers.”
Al Bye, proprietor of the Theater Antiques Mall and president of the Antique Village Merchant’s Association, said that “business was brisk all morning. It was just great to once again be able to hold our Spring Festival in the village. All the merchants were so happy to once again welcome visitors to their shops. It has been more than a year since we could have a festival and all the merchants I talked to were most grateful that we could once again get this boost to our businesses.”
Bye added, “We all did very well at the Spring Festival and we are looking forward to the Fall Festival that will be held on Oct. 2.”
Jennings said planners of the Saturday event continued to follow the governor’s mandates regarding precautions because of the continued threat of the virus. She said that prominent signs encouraged all to wear masks, to practice social distancing as much as possible, and that all businesses had sanitizing stations for customers and visitors.
She thanked Pelican State Credit Union for sponsoring the event and added that the Livingston Parish Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus had been most helpful in promoting the festival.
Bye estimated that the number of visitors attending the festival was close to the numbers who came to the event before the pandemic caused the last two festivals to be cancelled. “If it wasn’t the best crowd ever, it was really close. People told me that they were ready to get out and all the vendors and shop owners were more than happy to welcome them to the festival. Many of the vendors were hurt when the virus caused a number of festivals to be cancelled. This is where they make their profits. It was so good to see them back again…they were all smiling and it was priceless to see those smiles once again,” he said.