FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) — When the flowers start blooming in downtown Fairhope, the Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival isn’t far behind.

“We will have over 250 artists that will be set up downtown so we block off all the streets,” said Lynn Correll with Ole Bay Mercantile. Their tent is already set up and hundreds of items from inside the store will be on display.

Walking across Section Street around noon Thursday, Lydia Cloninger from LaFayette, La. is not alone. “There’s 13 of us,” she said as the rest scatter. “This is our 16th year coming.” It’s a girls’ weekend and a tradition for the group. “We rent a home, we eat, drink, party, and shop.”

By the end of the weekend, close to 300,000 people are expected to have walked through the festival. “We heard it was going to be big,” said a couple from Ohio, “but I didn’t realize it was going to be that big.”

The weather on Friday could change a few plans but it won’t matter to Cloninger and the girls. “They’ll have their raincoats and they will make the best of it.”

It won’t be the first time weather has played a role in the festival remembers Correll. “One year we had tents in the bay. We hope that doesn’t happen this year.”

The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival is a “must” for anyone on the arts and crafts circuit. “This group they come with some money and they don’t like to go home with it,” said Cloninger. “There is nothing like this one. It is so quiet and calm. The town is elegant. We just love Fairhope period.”