It wasn't the prettiest weather and the breeze was bone chilling, but the Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade rolled Tuesday morning in Biloxi. Even the crowds looked smaller than last year, but the thousands that did turn out celebrated in the usual Fat Tuesday party style.
Once the parade began rolling, Gulf Coast Carnival Association president Don Marie was grateful that Monday's downpours gave way to just a little mist.
"Mother Nature's shining on us right now. Not quite shining, a little overcast, but everybody out here is in the spirit and we're ready to roll," Marie said.
With hands stretched as far as possible, the mad rush began for beads and other goodies that were being thrown from the floats. Those on the floats were happy to oblige. This is what Mardi Gras' all about.
Fat Tuesday brings out veteran parade goers. One man we met used a net and a long pole to fashion a unique bead catching contraption.
"I used to work at a trawl plant in East Biloxi and I thought this would be an ingenious idea," he said.
Carnival also lures in repeat visitors from across the country.
"We come down and visit in-laws who live down here. It's a ball. We love the beads, the kids love it. We love the weather because up north it's a little cold right now," one reveler from Ohio said.
The carnival spirit is real contagious on the parade route, and the kids love a break from school.
"We get to see all kinds of beads and stuff all over the place and everyone's happy everywhere."
Once, when the parade came to a temporary halt, the Krewe of Chaos kept the party going with lots of music and dancing.
As the first parade of the day reached its end, the crowd wasn't quite ready to settle down yet. Luckily another parade would follow in just a few short hours.
This year's Gulf Coast Carnival royalty includes Nicole Danielle Pitalo as Queen Ixolib and William Yates the Third as King D'Iberville.