Mississippians are celebrating Mardi Gras with parades, floats and good times but they aren’t just keeping the fun to themselves. People are pouring into south Mississippi to join in on the fun at Mardi Gras on the Gulf Coast.
Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes said they will likely see anywhere from 50,000 – 80,000 people on Fat Tuesday.
“Mardi Gras is not just a one-weekend event,” said Hewes. “It is a social, cultural, and community event that really goes on, for some crews, for six months before we get to this point. But really, the last month is when things ramp up. It is good for tourism, it’s part of our fabric down here and we are also glad that people come to share it with us.”
The Gulfport parade is the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s only night parade on Mardi Gras night and will roll at 5:30 p.m. from 19th Street on U.S. 49 to 14th Street, west to 27th Avenue and then south to 13th Street- continue following the parade east on 13th to 24th Avenue, then right on 14th Street to 22nd Avenue.
Beads are the focal point for many this Mardi Gras and in Biloxi beginning at 11 a.m., paradegoers will be able to start lining up for the 1 p.m. parade. U.S. 90 will be reduced to two-way traffic from Porter Avenue to Main Street and at noon, I-110 will be closed to southbound traffic at Division Street.
“We’ll have more than a hundred floats, which is a little larger than normal,” said David Machado Biloxi Carnival Captain “And ‘It’s all on the line’ this year. It’s a celebration of first responders, the pursuit of Olympic goals, the World Series of Poker, high-flying acrobats, and generally things that have a high risk and high reward.”
Mayor Hewes has just one thing left to say before the parades and partying kick off on Tuesday.
“Laissez les bon temps rouler, it’s French for let the good times roll!”