JCCA Mardi Gras parade rolls down Pascagoula streets

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The streets of Pascagoula were filled with thousands of people for the annual Jackson County Carnival Association Mardi Gras parade Saturday. For revelers it was a lot of fun, and for those putting on the parade it was a lot of work.

Karen Topel came all the way from Ohio to visit her sister. This was her first Mardi Gras ever.

"I wasn't expecting anything this huge. I was expecting something little, but this is pretty cool," said Topel.

The parade consisted of 70 impressive floats. In fact, that is the biggest the parade has been since before Hurricane Katrina. Judee Stanford is the President of the Jackson County Carnival Association, and she says this means only good things for the future. While she's living in the present, she can't pass up an opportunity to toss a few beads herself.

"No way would I do this and not ride," Stanford said.

This year's King and Queen were Bert Hill and Barbara Peattie. As Queen, Peattie follows a bit of a royal bloodline to the throne.

"My mother, Jean Askew, was queen of tri-cities in 1992 and had the fortune of being queen of the parade in 1992 so I'm following in her tradition," said Peattie.

With almost three miles of tossing beads ahead of them, the krewe had to be sure they were practiced in their bead throwing strategies. King Hill said he was prepared.

"Well, I got a little overhand, a little underhand, and just a little behind my back too every now and then," said Hill.

The Queen used a different approach.

"I use a frisbee toss," Peattie said.

To make sure everyone was safe, the police were keeping a close eye out for danger. Captain Shannon Massey said that around 40 officers were patrolling the area.

"We want everybody to have a good time, but we want them to be safe while doing it," said Massey.

That didn't keep them from having a good time, too.

Each carnival group at the parade had a king and queen. The official JCCA King and Queen of the parade alternate every year so that each krewe gets a shot.

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