BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - At any given time, schooners can be seen sailing around the Mississippi Sound. But this time of year, that sight becomes a bit more bright.
Preparations are underway for the 31st annual Christmas on The Water boat parade.
For about four weeks out of the year, residents can find parade organizer Rusty David in a workshop, preparing the decorations for the annual event.
"I started this, we're still excited about the enthusiasm from the boat owners as well as the public coming out on Saturday night, and enjoying Christmas and its a kickoff for the Christmas season all along the Coast," David said.
David has been organizing the parade since its beginning, and while participation was hurt by events like Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, he sees boats coming back to the Sound.
"In '04 we had 86 boats. '05 we still did the parade, but we only had 8 boats. So, we're gradually coming back," said David. "And what I get excited about is the quality of the decorations, the families that come on the boats. They invite people to town so it's a family Christmas affair."
The 2016 parade is expected to have about 45 boats, and an upgrade to some decorations.
"Captain Ron on the Biloxi Schooner....they've got LED lights this year, rope lights which is really going to make a difference in their boats. Camp David, my houseboat, we've got some led lights we're working on that. So we're trying to move the quality of the decorations up as well," David said.
The Christmas on The Water boat parade is Saturday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. The boats will start in the sound near the Biloxi Lighthouse, and end at the Biloxi Schooner Pier.