OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Mardi Gras weekend festivities kick off Friday night with the Ocean Springs Carnival Association Night Parade.
The parade starts at the water front and runs on Porter Avenue to Washington Avenue, eventually turning on Government Street. Parade captain Heather Eason says each turn provides something different and something for all ages.
"Down on Porter Avenue where the parade begins is a very family atmosphere," Eason said. "When you turn into the downtown area it gets a little bit more party central."
With those different atmospheres, a night parade requires extra attention. Eason has worked with city leaders and police to add more barricades, additional security, double the lighting from past years.
Additionally, other precautions are being taken to make sure everything is safe.
"The ABC board is going to be down here helping to make sure under age drinking isn't a problem," Eason said.
During the night parade, police handle the perimeter a little differently.
"During the day parade it's a little more open," said Ocean Springs Police Traffic Officer Adam Carter. "During the nighttime, our entertainment district downtown we have completely blocked off due to the fact that we're trying to keep people out of the roadways. It's just a small area those parades come through in order to keep everybody safe."
Officials confirm that a stabbing that happened in the last parade in Ocean Springs was an isolated incident. If anything out of the ordinary happens on Friday, Carter is confident officers will be able to respond quickly.
"There's just going to be officers everywhere you turn. We have officers who are in uniforms. We do have some officers who come out in plain clothes from other divisions to help out, so there will be officers everywhere," noted Carter.
Roads on the parade route will be shut down starting at 5:45 p.m. on Friday.
Lanterns will be released on the beach around 6:45 p.m. to signify the parade is about to start. The parade will roll at 7:00 p.m.