GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - There was a lot of fish tossing and eating in Gautier this weekend at the city's popular mullet and music festival. The festival also helped to spotlight the town and local businesses.
Thousands of people trekked to Gautier's Mullet Festival, ready to have some fun.
"The weather is beautiful, and we have people from all over Mississippi and all over the United States," festival Queen Vivian Daily said.
There were lots of activities at the event, but the most popular one was the mullet toss.
"Every year we go to throw the mullet," one fish thrower said.
While some people had an easy time tossing wet mullet, others not so much.
"Oh no, it slipped out," a fish thrower said.
For those who didn't toss mullet, they enjoyed eating it. Gautier Men's Club prepared and served the fried fish along with some other southern favorites.
"Mullet, it's a saltwater fish, but it is not a fishy tasting fish. A lot of the locals love it," a men's club member said.
The festival actually began 24 years ago and has become one of the largest and most unique events on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
"I am not surprised by the turnout that we have had. We will probably end up with excess of 20,000 spectators," event organizer Susan Parol said.
The event not only gives Gautier exposure, it also highlights small businesses. Gautier Mayor Gordon Gollott said more than 80 vendors participated this year.
"The vendors come here, and they love it. In fact, the majority of them sign up to be here again before they leave on the second day. We have had vendors who have been at this event four to five years, and it is growing," Gollott said.
Vendors Dustin Anderson and his wife said they really got the boost their business needed.
"Lots of new customers, lots of new contacts and names of people who want to try our product," Andersons said.
Volunteers help host the Gautier Mullet Fest every year, and the proceeds from the event go right back into the community.