July 4th celebration at the Craft Center - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

July 4th celebration at the Craft Center

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RIDGELAND, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Attendance for this year's Fourth of July celebration at the Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland was the best it's ever been. 

The Craft Center is a 20,000 square foot facility that was open this holiday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is operated by the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi which represents over 400 artisans.  People from blacksmith's to basket weavers, to wood carvers, have their goods available here for sale and will demonstrate how they do what they do.   

Nancy Perkins is the newly named executive director of the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi.  

"We are so used to manufactured goods, we don't realize what goes into blacksmithing, carving, weaving," said Perkins. 

You can even see a blacksmith plying his trade and selling his wares at the Mississippi Craft Center.  

"You heat metal and then use exact blows with a hammer to cut and shape it into what you want it to be," said Lyle Winn, 50, of Brandon. 

75-year-old George Berry of Pearl, a wood carver, was hard at work at the Craft Center. 

"My dad gave me a knife when I was 6 years old, so I have been carving for 69 years," said Berry. 

Retired educator Bill Gressett, 62, of Madison and his wife came by to see it all this Fourth of July.  

"It's a wonderful way to spend it. That's what the Fourth of July is, coming together and celebrating the wonderful freedoms we enjoy in this country and mostly take for granted," said Gressett. 

I am told this was the best crowd they have had on a Fourth of July in the four years they have been doing it. This $7 million dollar facility was built with federal and state funds.  

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