Gulfport's Centennial Plaza preparing for Bicentennial party

Gulfport's Centennial Plaza preparing for Bicentennial party

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Preparations are in high gear for Friday and Saturday's big Bicentennial Celebration in Gulfport. As Mississippi recognizes 200 years of statehood, Centennial Plaza is being transformed to host the event. The grounds are being spruced up, barricades are in place and a temporary entrance is being built.

"I like to say it's a beehive of activity. There are so many volunteers and partners making the event special," said Gulfport Spokesman Chris Vignes. "We have two days we're getting prepared for. We are expecting tens of thousands of people Friday and Saturday. What we're doing now is getting all the logistics together: the generators, the port-a-lets, the property getting groomed and ready for guests to celebrate Mississippi's Bicentennial."

Thousands are expected Friday and Saturday for the celebration. The main entrance will be for pedestrians only. Leases have been secured with three property owners east of Centennial Plaza for public parking. People with disabilities will be able to ride a free Coast Transit Authority shuttle bus running from the downtown CTA Transit Center.

With officials expecting a  huge turnout, people are encouraged to know the rules and plan ahead.

"We're asking people to arrive early. Plan on traffic. Get there early and enjoy the day," Vignes said.

Promoter Arden Barnett, hired by the state to coordinate concert events, is laying out his plan. The stage will be constructed this week.

"We're standing in what will be the front entrance to the festival. The stage will be covering pretty much the entire green space from road to road. It's 165 feet wide. It'll be impressive," Arden Barnett said.

The Band Perry will headline Saturday's live performances with other entertainers on the menu.

A C-Spire mobile cellular tower has been constructed to enhance cell service during the two-day event. Cable One will bring in equipment to make sure Wi-Fi demands will be met.

For complete information on the event, visit

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