BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The countdown is on for the 2017 edition of Biloxi Black Beach Weekend. The three-day event is expected to draw thousands to the Coast.
Promoters Maurice Bryant and Derrian Burns are working to have more organized activities, as well as a centralized parking location, in an effort to reduce traffic problems on Highway 90.
The pair has also been working with Mississippi Coast Coliseum Director Matt McDonnell on plans to turn the facility into event headquarters.
The event will kick off at the convention center on April 7. The following day, the scene will shift to the grounds of the Coliseum with a car show, vendors, and live entertainment.
Promoters have turned to social media to spread the word. As many as 20,000 people are expected to attend.
"The crowd is coming from all over. It used to be a southern thing and now we have people coming from New York, coming from all over. The word is spreading, our social media is great. We're getting the word out," said Bryant.
In past years, the annual spring event drew criticism for its lack of structure.
"The message we're trying to get out is to get people off Highway 90. That's been the major hurdle we've been working on and trying to eradicate," said Burns. "Just park at the Coliseum. It's close proximity to the beach, the vendors and all the activities."
Plans to work with law enforcement - coupled with urging people to use the Coliseum for parking - should make for less congestion on 90.
Interest in the event could provide a major boost for tourism and local businesses. Bookings at South Mississippi hotels and motels are already through the roof.
"I can tell you right now, you won't find a room from Moss Point to Bay St. Louis. They're booked," Burns added.