Pine Belt residents visit outdoor festivals

Folks in Covington County say the annual Okatoma Festival is a big boost for their economy.   The 18th annual event centered in Collins has become a tradition for the month of May.

As always, there were plenty of family activites today, including some live music, carnival rides and different types of food.  The event also featured canoeing activities on the Okatoma Creek and a parade through downtown Collins, led by grand marshal and N.F.L. quarterback Steve McNair of Mt. Olive.

"Naturally, the residual for our community is outstanding," said Marie Shoemake of the Covington County Chamber of Commerce.  "The sales tax dollars that come into this, our businesses are open, and even though we have a lot of food booths, our restaurants tell me they have a wonderful day on the day of our festival," Shoemake said.

As always, the festival concludes with a street dance tonight.

Meanwhile, art lovers in the Laurel area spent their day checking out the annual "Day in the Park" at Mason Park.  The 35th annual event sponsored by the Laurel Arts League and the City of Laurel featured various art displays.

More than 60 art and food vendors were also on hand for the event, as were thousands of visitors who took advantage of today's nice weather to browse, shop and listen to live music from various performers.

Included in today's entertainment was a performance by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.