GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Gulf Coast's carnival season is officially underway. The festivities began Saturday with the Orange Grove Carnival Association parade.
Revelers say they couldn't have asked for better weather to enjoy the first parade of the 2016 Mardi Gras season. The sunny skies made for a great day to get in the Mardi Gras mood.
"Well, I've lived here my whole life, so we've always done this; even as a kid. So, I just love the experience for my children to have fun at Mardi Gras. I mean it's the best being here in the south," said Deanna Cannette of D'iberville.
While the floats, throws, and music are fun for everyone, it's the kids who really get into the action.
"I like Mardi Gras, because you spend time with your family and friends," said one young attendee.
Thousands of people lined the parade route for the 26th Annual Orange Grove Carnival Association parade, which is usually the first of the season to roll. The Grand Marshal for the parade was Tony Leidigh.
"I see people I ain't seen all year. It's Mardi Gras time; come out and see old friends and everything," said Shannon McBride.
The 2016 parade seemed to have fewer floats than in years past, but parade goers say it didn't kill the fun.
"I thought it was a little shorter than we expected, but the kids loved it, so that's all that matters really, as long as they had fun," said Christina Holmes.
For a complete schedule of parades, click here to view the WLOX 2016 Mardi Gras Schedule.