On Friday, September 28, in Old Town Bay St. Louis, the Hancock Chamber of Commerce will host a free “Roaring 20’s Street Party” featuring the big band sounds of New Orlean’s hottest big band, Swingaroux. Bring your lawn chair to the Historic Courthouse on Main and put on your dancing shoes from 5-9pm. Refreshments will be available for a nominal donation. The Kate Lobrano House, home to the Hancock County Historic Society, will host an open house during that time on Cue Street right across from the Courthouse featuring light hors d’oeuvres from recipes found in the organization’s treasured cook-book. The historic home features archives and the largest collection of historic photographs. All of these events are FREE and open to the public to celebrate the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the Old Spanish Trail.
On Saturday, September 29th festivities will continue with a free cruise in and storytelling. The Misfits Street Krewzers will lead the cruise in along the Old Spanish Trail in Hancock County at 9am. Their cars will be on display throughout the day at First Baptist Church on Main Street. From 10am – 3pm, on the second floor of the Courthouse, the public will hear stories about life on the Old Spanish Trail from esteemed historians. Featured topics include St. Augustine Seminary, the Opening of the Bridge and Ferry, and Brown’s Vineyard. The Lobrano House will host an open house from 12noon – 2pm.
The origins of the Old Spanish Trail began at a conference held in Mobile, Alabama in 1915. It was then that automobile owners who eagerly sought roads to drive on began their ballyhoo. They became known as Good Roads enthusiasts and went back to their home states to urge governing authorities to build roads and bridges. Conferences continued to be called annually until a transcontinental road was completed from St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California.
Beginning in 2015, reenactment conferences have been held each year commencing in Mobile, followed by Pensacola, Tallahassee and Pass Christian. Dan Ellis, who started the conference in the Pass, will be among the featured speakers in Hancock County. Other speakers include Charlie Sullivan, George Schloegel, Father Walter Bracken, Dr. Keating, Ron Magee and Allison Anderson.
This project is brought to the community by the Hancock Chamber of Commerce and the Hancock Community Development Foundation. It is partially funded by a grant through Visit Mississippi.