Record breaking crowds poured into the downtown Hattiesburg streets last saturday, March 26, to celebrate the 35th Annual HUBFEST. After a two year hiatus due to COVID, the popular street festival returned to the Hub City bigger and better than ever. 

“Our 35th anniversary edition of HUBFEST was a huge hit for the community. Literally thousands of people from Mississippi and neighboring states came out to experience HUBFEST 2022,” said Vanessa Henson, communications and events manager for the Area Development Partnership (ADP).

Marlo Dorsey, executive director and CEO of VisitHATTIESBURG, put estimated attendance around 30,000.

Highlighting the event were 14 musical acts performing on four stages around the downtown area. Lainey Wilson, 2022 American Country Music New Female Artist of the Year, headlined the day performing the 2022 ACM Song of the Year,  “Things A Man Oughta Know”.

Henson said, “Lainey Willson was a big draw as her fans came in from far and wide to see the ACM winner.” 

Spread between the four stages were over 200 vendors selling everything from food and beverages to handmade and retail goods. Oddfellow Gallery also partnered with students from the University of Southern Miss to sell their artwork.

“For some attendees, it was an introduction to all the fun and offerings found in downtown, which made a huge impact for our local merchants and vendors,” said Dorsey.

Andrea Saffle, executive director of the Downtown Hattiesburg Association, also reported high sales from local merchants.

“We were so happy to have HUBFEST back this year,” Saffle said. “It was a beautiful day for a festival. I think it was a huge success. Many of my merchants reported record sales, so that is exciting! In addition, many of them said that they had a lot of first time customers. Several (customers) saying they had no idea there was so much to do downtown and they look forward to coming back. That is what I really want to hear!” 

Event offerings were easy for attendees to access through the HUBFEST App, powered by Grandstand. The app included maps of the event and lists of musical performers and vendors that users could use to create a custom schedule of what they would like to see. It also included convenient links to HUBFEST’s social media platforms, so attendees could receive updates in real time. 

Even the kids got in on the fun with three designated “Kid Zones.” The official ADP Healthy Kid Zone offered all-day access to bounce houses, arts and crafts, games and other activities for only $10. 

“Many thanks to the City of Hattiesburg, Forrest County, Hattiesburg Coca-Cola and all of our sponsors for helping make this year’s event possible,” Henson said.


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