GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The first Mardi Gras parades haven't rolled through South Mississippi yet, but there is one that won't be rolling at all this year. The Orange Grove Carnival Association's last president cited low participation as the reason for dissolving the organization. Residents seem pretty disappointed by the news.
"It makes me feel a little sad, because the community that brings them together during Mardi Gras time," said Aaron Thompson.
Carnival season is officially underway, and by this time, most Orange Grove residents are gearing up for the annual parade, but this year the good times won't be rolling through.
"A lot of people are in the house now with so much crime and so much going on. So, a lot of times it brings out old friends, old school mates, just relatives to have a good time," said David Everett.
The organization's former president told WLOX News Now they disbanded after last year's parade, citing lack of participation and growing costs. Local business owner John Kunellis understands.
"I'm not just a business person. I live here. I work here. These people aren't just my customers. They're my neighbors. I hate to see them lose it, but I get it," said Kunellis.
Kunellis owns an ice cream parlor right on the parade route. Although his business has never really benefited from the parade, he's never had a problem with it either.
"We'll probably get a better day's business without it, but I kind of hate to see the kids not have it," said Kunellis.
The children, that's who residents say are the real losers in it all.
"The streets were full, and it's excitement for the families and the kids. That's fun. You know, around here they don't have any activity for the kids to do, nothing for the kids to participate in. That's fun for the kids, so we need to get that back," said Flora Spearman.