Crawfish Festival attendance down by half - - The News for South Mississippi

Crawfish Festival attendance down by half

By Jessica Bowman – email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The 18th annual Crawfish Festival is underway at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. More rides and new live entertainment is drawing thousands of festival goers. But, Coliseum Director Bill Holmes says congested traffic on Highway 90 has put a dent in the attendance.

Extra crowds along Highway 90 over the weekend didn't spill over to the crawfish fest.

Bill Holmes says. "Oh, it was definitely locals we had very few spring breakers."

Coliseum Director Bill Holmes says the annual event at the coliseum usually draws in about 25,000 people per weekend.

"It really hurt the numbers were probably off a 50 55% this weekend," said Bill Holmes.

Holmes says congested traffic on Highway 90 due to Black Spring Break was one of the main issues.

"We're going to have to re-think it if it's rescheduled. You can't compete with that activity because of the fact that it just doesn't allow the people coming to the festival to get here," said Bill Holmes.  

But, traffic didn't stop some people from enjoying the festivities.

Tim Bellipanni says, "There's people running around, all sorts of rides, good food and just having a good time." 

As buzzers went off and balloons popped live Cajun music played for festival goers. Vendors expect to cook as much as 25,000 pounds of hot boiled crawfish for this year's event.

One vendor says, "Enjoy a little South in your mouth."

The Crawfish Festival will kick off again Thursday night and run through Sunday.

Holmes says he expects attendance numbers at next weekend's festival to return to normal.

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