Ocean Springs to roll with night Mardi Gras parade

Ocean Springs to roll with night Mardi Gras parade

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Ocean Springs Mardi Gras night parade will roll in 2017.

Thursday night, the board of aldermen approved the permit that would allow it to continue, despite a call to cancel over safety issues. The board was unanimous in its vote.

Alderman Mike Impey was one of the many supporters.

"Obviously, we don't want to see either our spectators or officers injured," Impey said. "And if there are steps we need to take to prevent that and going with the parade, then that's what we'll do."

And, that's what officials did.

"We're not going to jeopardize the things that Ocean Springs is known for and that's our festivals, parades, and our public events," said Impey.

A special meeting was called after Deputy Police Chief Derek Hoppner requested at Tuesday's meeting that the board cancel the parade for safety concerns. The push back from city officials - even Police Chief Mark Dunston - was immediate.

The decision to continue the parade. was well received by parade captain Heather Eason.

"I think that a lot of people are happy about it- our participants, float riders, people that come to the parade and our business owners," said Eason. "To bring in that kind of people has an economic impact."

The surprising request was a hiccup, but nothing major.

"I don't think it was a distraction in the way that it put us behind, but it was definitely something that we normally haven't dealt with," Eason added. "I mean, there were several hours spent answering phones and answering questions and doing things like that trying to reassure people that have already entered this parade that yes we are going to roll."

The parade, which attracts an estimated 40,000 people, will roll Feb. 24.

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