SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The Mississippi Gulf Coast saw its share of Mardi Gras parades Saturday. The 7th Annual Second Liners Parade partied down Division Street in Biloxi. In Gulfport, Mardi Gras Mayhem in the Park had its debut, and Long Beach celebrated its 43rd Mardi Gras parade.
In Biloxi, there were tons of beads, floats, candy and people having a good time. The parade passed a whole sidewalk of businesses and houses along its route. One house in particular, had the street rocking before the parade even started.
Bertha Richburg's house is situated right at the beginning of the parade route, so she has had a front row seat to the celebration for years. This prime locale makes her house the hot spot.
"My house is where everybody hangs out at. Especially on occasions like this here. I love it, I enjoy the people, I love seeing the people passing by and enjoying themselves," said Richburg.
One of Richburg's neighbors said he's been coming to the house to watch the parade for twenty years.
"Oh, I come here and party every day. We don't have no special days. Every day's a holiday and every meal's a feast," said Abram.
Over in Gulfport, the city celebrated carnival season a little differently in Jones Park. The 1st Annual Mardi Gras Mayhem in the Park featured a bicycle parade, jambalaya contest, live music and tons of family fun.
Department of Leisure's Katie King and Brittany Dyess were the masterminds behind the event. They said part of their plans even included a special Mardi Gras movie screening later in the evening.
"It was actually Katie's idea. It's probably been about six months that it's been in the works," said Dyess.
King said that she just felt like it was a good time to bring this family friendly event to the coast.
"Gulfport hasn't really done a Mardi Gras event besides the parades so we just decided it would be a good idea to get all the families out here and just do something different," King said.
The day was a hit. According to the planners, the event was inspired by similar celebrations in other communities around the country.
If you headed west on highway 90, you would have eventually found yourself amidst the throws of the Long Beach Mardi Gras parade. Other than the huge floats and loud music, one thing stood out about the night.
It seemed like for out-of-towners, this parade was the place to be. It felt like the locals were almost outnumbered by visitors from all across the country. Regardless of where they called home, all these people had one thing in common; they were all having a good time.
A group of people from Wisconsin were all enjoying the sights and sounds.
"I like the music, I like the colors. It's fun, it's fun watching it. I would definitely recommend it. Friendly people," said Jan Williams.
She was just down the sidewalk from a couple from Virginia. Karen and Al Ipidendio have made the trip to the coast just for this parade for many years.
"I love Mississippi and the fun of the parades and meeting a lot of people. Really good people," said Karen.
Her husband agreed.
"We're down here catching beads. We got a couple from Missouri with us. Just having a ball," said Al.
Many of the people visiting from the North said being at this parade was a great alternative to the frozen landscape they left behind. At least when they return home, they'll have this warm memory, and tons of beads.