Memorial Day Weekend Equals Big Bucks For South Mississippi

This is the sound many South Mississippi businesses want to hear.

It's the sound of good business, and there is plenty of it to be made this Memorial Day weekend.

"It has been fantastic. We thought the weather was going to kill it today but as far as the day went on and on, they kept coming. We're loving it," said Lighthouse Sno-Ball stand owner Bee Dixon.

Thousands of tourists from all over the U.S. have flocked to South Mississippi to enjoy such attractions as the casinos, the annual All Harley Memorial Day Blowout, or simply the cool, inviting waters of the Mississippi Sound.

That's where we found Louisiana resident Claudia Nelson and her family.

"It's close to where we live. It's just a couple of hours away and easy turnaround. We can be back home by tomorrow afternoon and I didn't have to take a long drive," said Nelson.

The traffic, the people, the hot weather - it all looks like the start of a great summer, not only for tourists, but for hotels and other businesses as well.

"I know Friday night when I had check-ins, I looked and I had at least 130 to 140 check-ins for 4 nights or 3 nights rather, and when you get that many people checking in for that long of a period that tells you its going to be a great weekend," said Holiday Inn Gulfport general manager Asher Travis.

Travis says people are already booking rooms for next year, something he says lets us know tourists are already excited about returning.

And it's that "great return" business owners hope for each year.

"You wouldn't believe the people who come here that don't know what sno-balls are. I have people from Germany and Australia . I have people from everywhere here and they say what's a sno-ball, and once we make it, they come back. They always come back," said Dixon.