The Hernando Water Tower Festival welcomed crowds of people to the historic city courtyard plaza on Saturday, September 25.
The annual fall event hosted vendors featuring wild animals, food candles, and lots of food.
Donnah Turner, of the Hernando Chamber of Commerce, said on Saturday she had been organizing vendors since before dawn and had met several out-of-state visitors.
“We’ve been here since 4:45 am,” Turner said. “The vendors started arriving around 5:00 pm. We were all here with flashlights.
The festival officially started at 9 a.m. with many festival-goers from out of town.
“We had people from Minnesota, Chicago, and Florida,” Turner said. “We don’t have any more T-shirts for them to say they were here in Hernando. “
Turner added that many out-of-town visitors were in the area to see family and sightseeing.
Suzanne Burch, director of WAVE Raptors and Reptiles, leaned her right arm against the side of her body to support the weight of a bird of prey. The bird delighted passers-by and attracted a lot of attention.
“We had a lot of traffic today and it’s been really good for us,” said Burch. “We have some new birds, a barn owl named Edwin and Ruby Roundhouse, a red-tailed hawk.”
Burch said public engagements are beneficial for birds that are being rehabilitated after injury or that are separated from their natural environment.
“We had a great time and it was a wonderful experience,” Burch added.
Ellie Overstreet with O. Sugar candles and body products had used up her Fruit Loops cereal bowl candles by early afternoon.
“There was really good traffic today,” said Overstreet. “I really had fun, I enjoyed meeting people. I sold almost everything and it was great! I will definitely be making more of my Fruit Loops candles. I already have orders for Christmas.
The festival also included a car show, a barbecue contest, a kids’ zone and a corn hole tournament.
Taisha Roberts, from Southaven, came to the festival in the afternoon to see local crafts.
“And to get out of the house really,” Roberts said. “It’s a beautiful day and we take advantage of all the vendors and look at everything.”
Roberts said his favorite part of the festival was the feathered education ambassadors. Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation was a vendor and brought rehabilitated birds for festival goers to meet.
“We love the food too, but we’ve only had lemonade and popsicles so far,” said Roberts. “We’re just getting started. “
Roberts’ son Colton said he was happy to be out of the house as well.
A concert took place at 7:00 a.m. after the festival on the lawn of the Hernando courthouse. Derrick Joseph played.