OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It's a 4th of July tradition: Beach and Bar-B-Que. That was certainly the case on Front Beach in Ocean Springs Thursday. But you had to get there early to claim your spot in the sand.
The Ryan family from Atlanta was one of the first to hit the beach. The kids enjoyed the water while mom and dad worked on setting up the tent.
"We put some ropes down, some do not enter signs and a few chairs and some umbrellas," father Pat joked. "But seriously, we just put our tent up and our chairs here and walk back and forth during the course of the day."
By 9am, it was hard to find a parking spot. Getting there early was job number one for Robert Southers.
"It's very important. That's the way you get the good spots and access to all the excitement, the fireworks and just watching the people go and come," Southers said.
Victor Anchor is serious about his fun on the 4th. His set up looked like a small restaurant.
"Well, we got a bunch of people that we hang out with and like going out and we do all the cooking for them. So we have to overkill it just a little bit, just in case more than enough people come out," Anchor said.
Mother Nature made the decision for some beach goers, like Jocelyn Cupps.
"We were worried about the rain today so we decided to come out early. My husband is out golfing and he's going to be barbecuing later, so we just decided to come out, sit and enjoy the weather," Cupps said.
By 10am, good luck finding a place to park. One family had a game plan in place though, according to Chuck Tanner.
"We had to get here early in the morning to beat the crowd. I'm sure later on in the day after lunchtime, it's going to get packed and you won't be able to find a spot on the beach to set up," Tanner said.
By 11am, the beach was buried in humanity. Throw in a sandcastle, a pail, and a few hermit crabs, and you're good to go.
Many of the people on Front Beach Thursday said they planned on staying through the night to watch the big Biloxi fireworks show that begins at 9pm.