Dual events pack downtown Saturday

Published 12:00 pm Sunday, April 27, 2014


Thousands flocked downtown Saturday to get a look at the variety of foods, t-shirts, bags, crafts and other items.

The RiverFest Arts and Crafts festival and the Old Court House Museum flea market offered visitors a wide range of items to peruse.

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“We usually do this every year,” said Christy McCoy, who was with her mother, Sue Campbell and daughter Campbell McCoy. “It’s just something we make a day out of every year. All three generations of us.”

For Vicksburg native Leah Sullivan, the merchant’s displays surprise her each year.

“I’m not really looking for anything in particular,” she said. “I just come to enjoy the weather and see the people. Everything is just so unique.”

At the RiverFest Arts and Crafts festival, one of the most popular tents was Britt’s Leatherworks, an Alabama-based family company that specializes in customized leather belts, wallets and other accessories.

Lachel Britt Blevins and her daughter Brittany Blevins were manning the tent Saturday afternoon.

“Well I have four brothers and we all do it,” she said. “I’m the third generation that has been involved in this.”

Founded in 1982 by Fred and Alma Blevins, Britt Leather Works has become a mainstay at similar festivals in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

“We usually come every year,” she said. “It’s been pretty good today. The weather has been nice and we’ve had a lot of traffic.”

Meanwhile in a tent on Cherry Street across from the Old Court House Museum, Detroit native Robert Phillips had his artwork on display, which included copper wire oak tree sculptures and paintings.

Since moving to Vicksburg in 1980, Phillips has made it a point to participate in the flea markets.

The idea for the copper oak trees came to him on a hunting trip, he said.

“I was looking at an oak tree while hunting and thought ‘I could make something like that,’” he said. “I started just twisting it around and it looked like the tree.”

Since making the first tree, Phillips said his sculpting improved noticeably.

“It took a lot of time to get them like this,” he said.

Though his first artistic medium began with metal sculpting, Phillips stumbled upon another talent at age 69 when he was in the hospital.

“I was laid up there and saw a picture of a bird in the paper and decided to try to paint it,” he said. “I was 69 years old when I started painting. I took that as a gift from God.”

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