Carnival on Biloxi strip creates concern

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's a special event designed to boost family entertainment along the beach in Biloxi. But the carnival set-up at Veterans Boulevard and Highway 90 has some people raising their eyebrows.

WLOX News received some complaints about the carnival. Some folks say it's tacky and gives a bad impression at one of the busiest spots for summer tourists.

But the man responsible for the carnival says it's simply a way to provide more family entertainment options.

The carnival is set-up along one of the busiest spots for tourists, right in the middle of the Biloxi strip. Visitors and local residents we talked with told us it doesn't make a very favorable impression.

"It just looks kind of scary," said a woman visiting from Brookhaven.

"It could be somewhere better. It's kind of an eyesore right here on 90," said a young man from Jackson County.

"It looks like it's about to fall apart," said a young lady from central Mississippi, "And no one's there," her friend quickly added.

"It looks kind of corny; side show kind of stuff," said a man visiting from Florida.

Critics will be happy to know the carnival is only temporary; its permit is only good through this Sunday.

The man responsible for bringing it here also oversees the neighboring Hog Heaven BBQ and the Big Play Family Fun Center. He says the purpose of setting up a carnival here is simple.

"Drive some economic activity down on the beach and create something for families to do. We have so many family groups come through the restaurant and the Big Play Family Fun Center, all of them with the same complaint about the coast, and that is very limited family entertainment options," said Brandon Wooldridge.

The City of Biloxi issued the temporary permit required to allow the carnival. Jerry Creel is the city's Community Development Director.

"And it's no different than the carnival that comes to Fatima Church. They have a carnival set up there every year. They have them at the coliseum all the time. I agree that this equipment doesn't look as good as that equipment does, but you know, we live and learn," said Creel.

Though he strongly defends the reason for bringing the carnival to Biloxi, even Brandon Wooldridge admits this one wasn't quite what he envisioned.

"Things may not always turn out exactly like you planned, but you learn from it and do better the next time," said Wooldridge.

Wooldridge says his father's company, RW Development, is pursuing some much bigger projects for property in that area. He says those plans definitely include new restaurants and possibly another hotel to go along with the company's "South Beach Hotel" just down the street.

Wooldridge says they are also exploring entertainment options; looking at things like a water park or concert amphitheater.

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