Ocean Springs community crowds downtown for Carl Fest

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - The Ocean Springs community gathered for love of art and Carl the rooster.

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art hosted “Carl Fest” to celebrate the city’s unofficial mascot’s legacy.

In April, the rooster was kidnapped and killed, leaving Ocean Springs devastated.

One of his caretakers, Matt Stebly, said it hasn’t been the same not seeing Carl at his Twisted Anchor Tattoo shop.

“The amount of people was definitely shocking. I didn’t know that it affected that many people. It was just senseless, and a normal person could comprehend why something like that could happen,” said Stebly.

Thursday, color is what’s connecting community members to Carl.

The Walter Anderson Museum of Art hosted Carl Fest where artists created murals in his memory. The museum’s executive director, Julian Rankin, said artists as young as six years old participated.

“It’s a shame when anything passes. I think Walter Anderson would say nature is dying and being reborn, and on the coast, we know resilience and what that means. In some ways, this is a celebration for what Carl stood for. Which is create an economy and entrepreneurship,” said Rankin.

Resident Leah Saunders said she’s amazed at the talented entrepreneurs and by the support behind them.

“It gets your name out there, I really appreciate that kind of stuff. It’s nice and all of the small vendors, it’s nice to see the community come together,” said Saunders.

Smiles, songs, and creative skills are all wrapped in the event, which showed Stebly nothing will keep the community down.

“We kind of have some kind of positive spin on all of this and make something good come out of something that wasn’t. I love the town I live in for hosting this,” said Stebly.

Proceeds will go toward animal-related nonprofits.

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