GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The only waterfront parade in Gulfport, Christmas on the Bayou lit up the backwaters Saturday night with festive colors.
But while it's a merry atmosphere, the competition to be number one is pretty tough.
Adam Ladnier is captain, chief decorator, and shrimp peeler of Southern Miss II. He's just coming off the top award at Biloxi's Christmas on the Water last week, and he's gunning for a second straight year to win in Gulfport.
"We're lucky to have a boss that lets us go all out. We usually just put lights on the boat until we can't put any more," said Ladnier, who lost to Wayne Laubmier.
Newcomer Ross Cruthirds is ready to go to battle with his boat.
"It's the Skip Jack, but we call ourselves the Polar Bear Twerk Team," said Cruthirds.
That's because his boat's mascot likes to shake in the wind.
"We weren't this festive last year. It was a kind of last minute deal but we put some effort in it this year," he added.
He's ready to take on the big boys, but Cruthirds isn't depending on victory.
"It's really not that important to me. Just have a good time, hang out with friends and bunch of people," he said.
Freddy Eckles' boat boasts a Christmas tree as the centerpiece. But, its name doesn't match the décor. "It's called Doghouse. It earned it. Ask my wife," he said.
"It's stout. You get some boats in here that are pretty good. They go full out on it. If you ain't first, you're last. So, we might be second," Eckles added.
This year's event has more than 60 boats that paraded through Bayou Bernard for a couple of hours showcasing some of the most creative Christmas designs on water or land.
It started at Gulfport lake south of The Dock Bar & Grill. A fireworks display was the starting gun. Holly Gibbs calls herself the wife of her husband's boat. The event is a chance to show off her new candy cane pants, which just adds to the fun.
"It's a great community event. Everybody participates," Gibbs said. "It's family friendly and you get to dress up your boat and have a blast."
Tie for first: Kirk Clark and Edmund Salome; second, Jack Williams
First Freddy Echols; second, Ross Cruthirds; third, Richard Gibbs
First Clay Osborn; second, Adam Ladnier; third, Jerry Morton