Hernando’s Water Tower Festival welcomed throngs of people to the town’s historic court square on Saturday, September 25.  

The annual fall event hosted vendors featuring wild animals, food shaped candles, and lots of food.

Donnah Turner, with the Hernando Chamber of Commerce, said on Saturday she had been organizing vendors since before daylight and met several out-of-state visitors.

“We’ve been here since 4:45 a.m.,” said Turner. “The vendors started rolling in at about 5:00. We were all out here with flashlights.”

The festival officially started at 9 a.m. with many out-of-town festival goers in attendance.

“We had people from Minnesota, Chicago and Florida,” said Turner. “We’re sold out of our 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 at WAVE Raptors and Reptiles, was propping her right arm against the side of her body to support the weight of one bird of prey. The bird delighted passersby and drew lots of attention.

“We’ve had a lot of traffic today and it’s been really good for us,” Burch said. “We’ve got a couple of new birds, a barn owl named Edwin, and Ruby Roundhouse, a red-tailed hawk.”

Burch said the public engagements are beneficial for the birds who are being rehabilitated from injuries or are separated from their natural environment.

“We’ve had a great time and this has been a wonderful experience,” Burch added.

Ellie Overstreet with O. Sugar candles and body products had sold out of her signature Fruit Loops cereal bowl candles by early afternoon.

“There was really good traffic today,” said Overstreet. “I really enjoyed myself, I enjoyed meeting the people. I sold out of almost everything and it was great! I definitely will be making more of my Fruit Loops candles. I’ve already got orders for Christmas.”

The festival also featured a car show, a barbecue contest, kids zone and corn hole tournament.

Taisha Roberts, of Southaven, came to the festival in the afternoon to see local arts and crafts.

“And to just get out of the house really,” said Roberts. “It’s a beautiful day and we’re enjoying all the vendors and looking at everything.”

Roberts said her favorite part of the festival were the feathered education ambassadors. Mississippi Wildlife Rehabilitation was a vendor and brought rehabbed birds for festival-goers to meet.

“We love the food also, but we’ve just had lemonade and popsicles so far,” Roberts said. “We’re just getting started.”

Roberts’ son, Colton, said he also was happy to get out of the house.

A concert was held at 7:00 after the festival on the Hernando Courthouse lawn. Derrick Joseph performed.

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