LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - One of the biggest parades yet for the Carnival Association of Long Beach, the parade rolled under clear skies, bright lights and big smiles Saturday night.
But first, there were pre-parade festivities to get the party started. The corner of Railroad and Jeff Davis is the sacred ground for the Krewe of McMaHaWi. The group turns the spot into Carnival central every year.
"We've been here for a number of years and it just grows, and grows, and grows," said one of the founders. "We invite all our friends and family. Everybody's welcome and we just have a good time."
The name comes from the first two letters of each of the five siblings who started the fun about 28 years ago. Each year, the family adds a charm based on a big event.
"And so you keep collecting the charms and that shows that you're part of the McMaHaWi Krewe when you come here," said David Marks.
Across the street, Kenneth Gray cooks up everything from chicken to wild hog, all sweetened with hickory and pecan wood.
"We choose the Long Beach parade because it's family friendly. The kids have a great time. There's no trouble at this parade, and I just love it. I love it."
Barbecued oysters just off the route hit the spot for John Dane and lots of friends and family.
"It's a lot of fun," Dane said. "Bunch of sacks of oysters, a little alcohol. Few Hi-C's and a few Capri Suns."
But as night fell, the dancing started and the beads flew. King Thomas Ponte and Queen Beverly Malone ruled over the 61-unit parade with a little help from Grand Marshal, and WLOX's own, Jonathan Brannan.
"It's perfect," Dane said. "It's super family friendly here, this whole neighborhood; this whole parade."