Spring break crowds back at the beach

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The event once called Black Spring Break is back, with a new name, and a centralized location.

On the grounds of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum, vendors set up tents, and spring breakers began to arrive. One of the vendors is Risselle Walden. "Keith is the one who put this together tonight. So I'm just here with him out selling cupcakes, cookies, brownie," she said.

Keith is Keith Brown, the promoter of Mississippi Gulf Coast Spring Break. He's worked with coliseum leaders, and local law enforcement to plan a spring break party that's fun for visitors, and not a burden neighboring businesses. Past spring break weekends had a lot less organization. And that created bottlenecks on the beach.

Area police have a command post set up at Edgewater Mall. And they have a venting plan, in case Highway 90 gets too crowded.

Vendors were actually hoping for large crowds. As the sun set Friday night, and spring-breakers arrived, vendors like Otis Sanders began selling their merchandise. "Right now we're just trying to entertain the people," Sanders said, "Keep them fed. You know, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Spring Break Weekend."

Organizers for this year's larger and more organized spring break weekend predict up to 50,000 visitors. For local vendors, those large numbers mean large profit. That's why Sanders says he had no problem with moving his Gulfport business to Coliseum this weekend. "I've got two daughters that I'm trying to send to Spellman, and this is how I'm going to do it," said Sanders.

Business got off to a rather slow start early Friday night. Vendors expect things to pick up by Saturday night. "The majority of the people are still coming in, steadily coming in," Walden said. "So hopefully it will be real good tonight."

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