Network TV special highlights Mississippi Gulf Coast

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The stage is set for stars like David Hasselhoff and American Idol's Taylor Hicks to perform Tuesday night at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.  It's all part of a one-hour television special airing on the CW network August 27th.  The hope is to send the message that the coast is open for business in the months following the oil spill.

Monday afternoon, it was lights, camera and star power as pop artists like Drake Bell took the stage. Joining Bell were Disney channel stars Chris and Kyle Massey, country artist Ricky Skaggs and American Idol's Ace Young.

"I heard about it on the radio, and I just rushed here to see what it was all about," says Monet Jackson of Biloxi.

Before the show, a couple of pint-size dancing divas were outside practicing their best dance moves. Cousins Faith Adams and Olivia Lopez of St. Martin got up close and personal with some of the stars in Ocean Springs.  Olivia's mom, Bridget, said it was a treat for everyone.

"Sunday, they got a chance to eat with Drake Bell and the Massy brothers, talk to them and spend a little bit of time with them. They also got to be part of the taping that's going to be aired," Lopez said.

Lopez's daughter, Olivia, and niece, Faith, got some keep sakes from their meeting with the stars. They took pictures and got autographs.

"It was really cool. I was surprised that it was them. I was really excited," Faith said.

During the special, people will experience the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the stars take excursions to the beach, Ship Island and catfishing.  But, most importantly, through their experiences, they'll tell the stories of people on the coast.

"We're telling great stories. Not only are the stars singing and doing musical numbers, but they're telling great stories about tourism," said Executive Producer David McKenzie.

"What people need to understand is despite going through a natural disaster and man-made disaster, we're not giving up," Norman said.

Tuesday's concert is free. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. People are encouraged to get free tickets starting Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. through showtime at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi.

The concert was an initiative from Governor Haley Barbour's office. The special will air on the CW network August 27th.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.