The City of Diamondhead Is The Place To Be!

As the seasons begins to change, you will find all kinds of wonderful things to see and do on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Diamondhead will kick off this beautiful time of year with two fun filled events that the whole family will thoroughly enjoy.
The Diamondhead Hummer Fest will take place on Saturday, Sept 13th and promises to be a day filled with wonder and surprises. This is the 3rd year in a row that Bob and Rhonda Vaughan have hosted the event. The Hummer Fest takes place on their private property and they roll out the red carpet for their guests. “It is not uncommon to have hundreds of hummingbirds visit us during the season. For years we would travel to Louisiana to attend a hummingbird/butterfly festival in Folsom, then it occurred to me that we had more hummers coming and going right here at home, in our own backyard! So Bob and I decided to create our own hummingbird festival in South Mississippi,” Rhonda said.
Hummingbirds migrate between Central and South America and New England. They literally make the crossing of the Gulf in one flight! Fueling up and putting on weight is crucial to their survival. This time of year the Gulf Coast is filled with hummers who are stopping by to rest and get the nutrition they so desperately need for the journey. They are plentiful for a few weeks as they fatten up and prepare to cross the Gulf. In the Spring, they migrate back north and don’t hang around very long. The best time to observe hummers is from mid August to mid October, during the early morning hours and again at dusk when they congregate to eat. “There are some species of hummingbirds that stay down here year round,” Rhonda said.
The first event brought in 50 visitors and they had such a wonderful time that word spread quickly about the magical experience. Last year the attendance grew considerably, the count jumped to 250 people! Now the Hummer Fest is a fund raiser event to benefit the Vaughan’s non profit organization, CAFC, Inc. which stands for Christian Aid for the Caribbean. The CAFC came to be in order to carry on the mission work Rhonda’s parents were doing during her childhood in the island of St. Vincent. “I fell in love with the people and with the area. We left when I was eleven years old but I yearned to go back and continue with the mission work. Thanks to the encouragement of my husband, I returned in 2009. The poverty level was still dreadful in many areas of the island. We formed our organization specifically to feed the hungry children there,” Rhonda said. The Gulf Coast Rescue Mission in Biloxi and Christian Services, Inc. in Hattiesburg, formed a partnership with CAFC and they are now working together to help those in need on the local level as well. “We call ourselves Christian Aid now because we do not limit our efforts to the Caribbean anymore,” Rhonda said.
The primary species of hummingbird that frequent the Coast is the Ruby Throated variety. The Rufous and Buff Belly varieties are also fairly common. There are no hummer clubs in South Mississippi but perhaps that will change. In the meantime, those interested may follow Hummer Bird Study Group out of Alabama, which was organized by Bob Sargeant. Bob puts out a newsletter a few times each year and his website is hummingbirdsplus.org. Thankfully, Bob and Rhonda Vaughan continue to bring the wonder and beauty of these little gems to us through their very special hummer fest. They have assistance through volunteers at their church who come the week before to put the finishing touches on the yard. Booths are set up in the Vaughan’s airplane hanger and workshop, complete with tables and chairs to accommodate 50 to 75 people per session. Guest speakers will offer presentations throughout the day. Food and beverages will be available for purchase on the grounds. Vendors will include three different food booths, crafts, birding supplies and hummingbird plants, homemade canned goods and aprons. There will be sixteen vendors to visit throughout the day, including a gentleman who carves life size hummers!
The best way to attract hummers is to put out feeders. The color of the food does not need to be red, it is actually much healthier for the birds if you use nothing but sugar and water. Food coloring may harm them. Rhonda advises that as soon as you see a hummer at your first feeder, put out one more. When you see two or more, put out additional feeders right away. Hummers are attracted to all colors but particularly enjoy the trumpet shape of certain flowers. Use one cup of sugar to four cups of water. The primary source of nutrition is actually bugs!
A certified hummingbird Bander is a major attraction at the festival. He skillfully traps the tiny jewels and ever so gently bands the legs. Last year he banded over 27 hummers and some very lucky people had the thrill of holding a bird until it flew away. An experience like no other! The location is 2356 Airport Drive in Diamondhead. You can call Rhonda for additional information at 228-255-1986 or email her at cafcinc@aol.com. The day begins at 8:00 a.m and ends at 3:00 p.m but Rhonda said you are welcome to stay a bit longer if you would like to. “We have so much fun and I can never get enough of these little creatures. They are the only bird in the world that can fly backwards, hover, and even fly sideways and upside down! They are so fascinating, “ she said.
There is no set fee for entrance to the festival but donations are sincerely appreciated. All proceeds benefit Christian Aid. Photographers, both professional and novice, are welcome to come and set up equipment during the day. You never know what you might see or what experiences you may have! Don’t miss this remarkable day.
On Saturday, September 20th through Sunday, September 21st, the Diamondhead Arts & Crafts Show will celebrate its 30th year! An incredible array of one-of-a-kind treasures can be found on the rolling, shady hillside of the beautiful Diamondhead Country Club. Today, the show is sponsored by the DCE (Diamondhead Continuing Education) but it all began quite some time ago in 1984.
Diamondhead was very new and a group of young stay-at-home mothers wanted to have a place for outdoor recreation for their children. They decided to ban together and solicit funds for swings and other equipment for the community. They formed the Parent’s Association of Diamondhead and their efforts were well rewarded. The project took on a life of its own. The ladies proceeded to formulate an arts and crafts event for their cause. They traveled around to various craft shows and asked vendors to take part in the new event they were organizing. It started out small but year after year the Diamondhead Arts & Crafts Show became extremely popular and the vendor list grew considerably. There were well over 250 arts and crafts booths and people came in record numbers. The Parent’s Association of Diamondhead eventually had the funding to build the Diamondhead Academy for grades K through 6, thanks to the money generated by the Arts & Crafts Show. The Arts & Craft Show sponsorship changed hands in 2001. The Diamondhead Continuing Education took over for another very worthwhile cause.
Housed in the old 19th Hole building on the Diamondhead Country Club grounds, the DCE offers everything from computer classes to country line dancing. “The classes are not accredited but they are a lot of fun and we have so many exciting and interesting choices,” Pat Sheehy, coordinator of the Diamondhead Arts & Crafts Show said. All Coast residents are welcome to attend the 3 to 6 week sessions for a nominal fee. School administrator, Janet Roche, is now registering students for the fall session which begins at the end of the month. For more information, go to http://www.dhcontinuinged.net/
All vendors must offer goods that are at least 50% homemade or designed. You will not find anything that can be commercially marketed. All vendors must submit photographs of what they intend to sell and Pat makes the determination as to if the items are acceptable or not. You will find the most unusual arts and crafts at the Diamondhead show, no matter where you stop to shop at any one of the 180 booths. There are three vendors who have been coming to the Diamondhead show since the early years. Sylvia Corban is a water colorist who brings her unique brand of artwork year after year. Sherryl Lutz is a ceramicist who has a booth in the show since the beginning, and JoAnne and Gerry Hrycuna come from their home state of Alabama each year. The Hrycuna’s are expert artisans in metal work. Vendors who are repeat participants may select their favorite “spot” and those that sign up early have the same option. Applications go out the end of May. A single tent is $150.00 for both days, and for two tents it is $250.00. Electric hook ups are available for an additional $20.00 but nothing else is furnished. Vendors come from all over the country, including Tennessee, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, and Chicago.
Animals are not permitted to accompany guests to the show. The event takes place rain or shine. “I have been coming to the show for fifteen years and last year was the first time it really rained hard…it did not deter anyone,” Pat said. There will be some very interesting, brand new vendors this year. Be sure and visit Personalized Creations, where you can order custom made, one-of-a-kind cookies and cakes that will be the talk of the town at your next party. A gentleman builds tables out of various hardwoods and cedar with 3-D hand painted tops. There will be numerous demonstrations throughout the day as well. The NFL and SEC will also be well represented with all kinds of football art and collectibles for your man cave or home office. Look for Adrian Boudreaux who canes chairs, an art form seldom seen anymore. Oyster shell artwork is one of the most popular items that represent the Coast lifestyle, you will find it here! And if you are in the market for outdoor furniture? You will find the most beautiful, hand made pieces to compliment your home.
Children will enjoy the miniature train ride and bungee jumping! Look for the face painter and tattoo artist who will decorate your little one for this special day with glitter and their favorite themes. The Country Club will sell hot dogs and hamburgers and various drinks and desserts. There is plenty of seating, picnic table style, outside. You may also order food and dine inside the club if you prefer. Cool off with a snow cone as you stroll around the grounds. You will find every flavor imaginable! Throughout the day you may purchase tickets for various raffles and wonderful gift baskets. There is also a 50/50 drawing at the end of each day where the winner gets half the pot and the other half goes to DCE.
You are encouraged to park at the shopping center in Diamondhead and take the shuttle bus to the Arts & Craft Show on Saturday. Parking is at a minimum at the Country Club location. The shuttle bus runs on Saturday only. The Diamondhead Arts & Crafts Show opens on Saturday, the 20th from 9:30 to 5:00 and again on Sunday, the 21st, from 10:00 to 4:00. Take exit 16 off I-10 and look for the orange signs that will show you the way. For more information, contact Pat Sheehy at 228-255-6922 or 228-547-6920. The website address is http://www.dhartscrafts.net which is also packed with information.

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