GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There are less than three weeks left before the kickoff event for our state's bicentennial celebration. That means planning is in overdrive.
If the response from the community is any indication, the excitement for the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration South is reaching a fever pitch.
"The news is coming in. We've reached capacity for exhibitors, for students, and for food vendors, and so it's building up to what we like to say is the party of the century," said Chris Vignes, with the City of Gulfport.
With more than three weeks to go, Vignes said hitting this milestone so early is a good sign.
"There was so much interest in this event, because it is the 200th birthday of Mississippi's statehood. A celebration. So, everybody coming together and getting this plan laid out and making this special has been really cool," Vignes said.
Participation is being seen from all across the coast. Cynthia Sutton, from the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce, is helping set up vendors. According to her, there will be plenty to do.
"We're going to have a military exhibit area where they're going to bring tanks and interactive activities for kids. We have an education area. They're going to have hands-on activities for kids. There are going to be colleges represented from throughout the State of Mississippi, and then we're going to have a huge salute to the cities and counties festival area," Sutton said.
There will also be numerous museums bringing exhibits to the site. One of the coast's most storied, Beauvoir, will be bringing re-enactors to showcase Mississippi's deep heritage.
"Mississippi is very historical. You know, 200 years of history for the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Beauvoir has a direct connection," said Kitsaa Stevens, events coordinator at Beauvoir.
That's all just part of the celebration. One of the most anticipated features of the weekend is the entertainment lineup, including headliner The Band Perry. Arden Barnett is producing all three of the state's celebrations; north, central, and south.
"The southern event is definitely the largest of the three. I'm looking forward to the day and also to celebrate this great event for our state," said Barnett.
The Bicentennial Celebration is the weekend of March 31. Tickets are free at 200.visitmississippi.org.