Beads, King Cake, and parades are set to take center stage this weekend across the Mississippi Gulf Coast as they celebrate Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras dates back to Renaissance period and was celebrated by Catholics as the last day of celebration before the period of lent and all of the things that lead up to Easter. It fell out of favor in every country except for France.
“We consider it a cultural event because we have such deep ties to our French heritage and that’s where the Mardi Gras celebrations come out of,” said Bill Raymond, Historical Administrator for the City of Biloxi. “It helps the coast identify itself separately because we do it on the coast and nowhere else in the state does and it’s something that we’re very proud of because it does make us different from the rest of the state.”
Raymond said the first parades happened in Biloxi in the 1890’s.
“They were started by business men who saw how many people were going to New Orleans for the parades, so they organized the parades in Biloxi,” Raymond said.
Raymond added that they have been celebrating it for well over 100 years and the tradition is still growing.
If attending any of the parades this weekend, the City of Biloxi offers these safety tips to keep families focused on the fun, but also keep them safe.
- Do not block traffic. If an officer is directing traffic, follow instructions.
- Obey posted speed limits.
- Park only in marked areas, no parking in the median or on sidewalks. Respect private property.
- No riding on tailgates, bumpers, roofs or hoods of vehicles.
- No glass containers; no underage drinking allowed.
- No animals allowed in any event area.
- No littering.
- Amplified sound is allowed only by permit.
- For safety, only cross roadways at designated locations such as a corner or crosswalk.
- Do not obstruct boardwalks or sidewalks; pedestrians only.
- Do not move or go around of officially placed barricades.
- All service drives on U.S. 90 close at 10 p.m. unless posted otherwise. Vehicles not removed are subject to being towed.
- A helmet must be worn by all operators and passengers on a motorcycle.
- ATVs, golf carts, UTVs, or any other unlicensed vehicle are not allowed on the roadway, on the beach, or on sidewalks or boardwalks unless being operated as an emergency vehicle.
Raymond added that people should always stay behind the barricades that the city has set up and do not climb them. Always be aware of surroundings, especially if attending the event with children.
“I love getting lots of beads but it’s not worth my life to get a pair of plastic beads out of the street with a vehicle coming down at me. It’s just not worth it,” Raymond said.
Here is a list of the parades happening across the Coast this weekend.
17th Annual Biloxi Children’s Mardi Gras Walking Parade
February 3, 10am Downtown Biloxi
Bay St. Louis Krewe of Kids Mardi Gras Parade
February 3, 11am Downtown Area
Krewe of Little Rascals Children Mardi Gras Parade
February 3, Noon Downtown Plaza
28th Annual Mystic Krewe of Pine Island Mardi Gras Parade
February 3, 1:30pm Vancleave
Carnival Association of Long Beach Mardi Gras Parade
February 3, 6pm Begins at Long Beach High School
Gautier Men’s Club Mardi Gras Parade
February 3, 7pm
50th Annual Krewe of Nereids Mardi Gras Parade
February 4, Noon Bay St. Louis
Ocean Springs Carnival Association Night Mardi Gras Parade
February 9, 7pm Downtown Ocean Springs
Krewe of Diamondhead Mardi Gras Parade
February 10, Noon Diamondhead
Jackson County Carnival Association Mardi Gras Parade
February 10, 1pm Pascagoula
47th Annual Krewe Of Gemini Mardi Gras Day Parade
February 10, 2pm Gulfport
Krewe of Neptune Mardi Gras Night Parade
February 10, 5:30pm Biloxi
Annual Krewe of Salacia Parade
February 10, Immediately following the Krewe of Neptune
Second Liners Mardi Gras Club Parade
February 10, 1pm Biloxi
St. Paul Carnival Assoc. Mardi Gras Parade
February 11, 11:30am Pass Christian
D’Iberville/St Martin North Bay Area Mardi Gras Parade
February 11, 1:30pm D’Iberville
Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse Mardi Gras Parade
February 12, 5pm Bay St. Louis
11th Annual Krewe of Diamonds Mardi Gras Parade
February 13, 1pm Bay St. Louis
Gulf Coast Carnival Association Mardi Gras Parade
February 13, 1pm Downtown Biloxi
47th Annual Krewe Of Gemini Mardi Gras Night Parade
February 13, 5:30pm Gulfport