Families pack Coast parks for 4th of July celebrations - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Families pack Coast parks for 4th of July celebrations

Posted: Updated:
Several families staked out their spots early this morning. Several families staked out their spots early this morning.
Many plan to stay for the fireworks shows tonight. Many plan to stay for the fireworks shows tonight.
West Side Park and Jones Park in Gulfport were filled with children playing in the splash pad, food cooking on the grill and people relaxing. West Side Park and Jones Park in Gulfport were filled with children playing in the splash pad, food cooking on the grill and people relaxing.
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Several parks and splash pads were packed on Friday as families gathered for their Fourth of July festivities. Many people staked out their spots early in the morning for their cookouts and fireworks. They celebrated America's birthday with food, friends and giving thanks for our freedoms.

A shot of cool water can really hit the spot on a hot Fourth of July. Frolicking in the splash pad at West Side Park became a new Fourth of July tradition for Neko Yotov. The 3-year-old girl is already learning the meaning behind Independence Day.

"We talk about America, and red, white and blue, and the flag and things. My daughter wanted a cake to celebrate Independence Day, so we bought a red, white and blue cake," said Neko's mom, Tamarah Murley.

"Happy birthday America," Neko said.

At a nearby pavilion, the annual Oatis Gathering drew as many as 100family members.

"When they're golden brown on both sides, we sauce them up, and watch your fingers," said Marcus Oatis, as he showed off racks of ribs grilling over hickory and apple wood.

Oatis started preparing the feast last Tuesday.

"We're going to have enough food to feed half of the park when we're done," Oatis said.

By sharing the huge meal, they can build a stronger family bond.

"Expressing our freedoms together as a family, it's just unspeakable. It just brings us all joy. God is with us every step of the way, just to get us all together and have a good time," said Oatis. "We're not together all the time. We're all across the globe, so to have everybody back together is just like old times, good times, smiles, laughs and memories to be made."

Over at Jones Park, the theme was the same: Fun in the water, family and lots of food. James Anderson was cooking for family members who came in from five states, and he was savoring every moment of it.

"It's called a junk pot. You put everything in it," said Anderson, as he explained his popular dish. "It's a Fourth of July tradition, and they're waiting on it. Look at them sitting there waiting on it."

"Happy Fourth of July!" the group shouted.

Many families stayed late to catch the fireworks display.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Gunshots inside a Gulfport home; one person is dead

    Gunshots inside a Gulfport home; one person is dead

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:39 PM EDT2014-07-23 16:39:15 GMT
    Gulfport police and the Harrison County coroner are investigating another murder. The coroner confirms an autopsy was being performed Wednesday on the victim.
    More >>
    Gulfport police and the Harrison County coroner are investigating another murder. According to a Gulfport Police Department news release, gunshots inside a Gulfport home killed a Carson Drive resident. Two suspects reportedly entered that home late Tuesday night and assaulted the victim while he slept. During that struggle, police report a gun went off, and a bullet struck the victim.More >>
  • Coroner: Girl's body was found in abandoned trailer's bathroom

    Coroner: Girl's body was found in abandoned trailer's bathroom

    Friday, July 18 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-07-18 19:26:33 GMT
    It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer.More >>
    It's been an extremely difficult day for family and friends as well as officers. So many people were crying, upset as the body of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson was removed from an abandoned trailer. Coroner Gary Hargrove said Janaya's body was found in a bathroom.More >>
  • Two arrested for St. Martin burglary, TV theft

    Two arrested for St. Martin burglary, TV theft

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:44 AM EDT2014-07-23 15:44:17 GMT
    Investigators in Jackson County say two men who broke into a St. Martin home and stole a large television were arrested after they sold the TV a short time later.More >>
    Investigators in Jackson County say two men who broke into a St. Martin home and stole a large television were arrested after they sold the TV a short time later.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.