GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The gates to the Mississippi Bicentennial South celebration open up at 10 a.m. Saturday, but dozens of event organizers and vendors were out at Gulfport's Centennial Plaza bright and early getting everything ready.
The day began yesterday, with a history-making opening ceremony, where Gov. Phil Bryant and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker celebrated the release of a new stamp that recognizes the Mississippi statehood anniversary. The stamp features a tight shot of weathered hands playing a guitar; an homage to the birth of so much different music in the Magnolia State.
If you're heading out to the event today, here's everything you need to know, from weather to parking to tickets!
Make sure to bring sunscreen and lots of it! You're definitely going to need it, along with hats and sunshades. It's going to be a beautiful day, with highs in the mid to upper 80s, so you'll want to stay hydrated. There's no chance of rain expected until late Sunday night or Monday morning.
Today's celebration opens at 10 a.m., with a parade at 11 a.m. and various other exhibits throughout the day. The Governor's Concert begins at 5 p.m., with numerous artists performing -- including country stars The Band Perry. The event will end at 10 p.m. with a large fireworks display. For a full list of events and their times, click here.
Everyone who enters the event must have a ticket. Tickets were free and available online, however, the maximum number of tickets has been claimed from the Bicentennial Celebration South's website.
Parking at the event will be first-come, first-served. It's free to park at the event, but there are designated spots available. Make plans to arrive early to avoid traffic delays. Gulfport Police Department are on the scene, helping to direct traffic and assisting drivers.
The Coast Transit Authority will offer shuttle services from the CTA Gulfport Transit Center on 15th Street, directly across from the Federal Courthouse. The service begins running a half hour before the festivities open and will continue to run throughout the day and night. Shuttles will drop off and pick up patrons at the Hwy. 90 main pedestrian entrance in front of Centennial Plaza.
- No re-entry
- A no re-entry policy will be enforced at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
- Seating is very limited but you are allowed to bring beach blankets, towels, and folding/camping/beach chairs. There is a designated "Chair Zone" area if you bring your own chair. No poolside lounges, lazy boys, folding metal chairs, or inflatable chairs will be allowed.
- Handicapped Amenities
- For people with mobility diseases, all facilities on the site are accessible. The shuttle buses that run from the CTA Transit Authority are also accessible.
- No pets are allowed inside the event's gates. The only animals allowed are ADA companion animals.
- This event is great for children of all ages! Children two and older will require a ticket. Baby strollers and wagons are allowed on the premises.
- This is a cash-only event. ATMs will set up on site throughout the event grounds.
- No unauthorized vending or solicitation will be allowed. No one except for authorized vendors are allowed to pass out flyers or other promotional advertisements.
- Alcohol will be served at this event. Per state law, only people 21 and older with a valid, non-expired, government issued ID will be served.
- Food and Beverages
- No outside food and beverages of any kind will be allowed inside the event's gates. Food and beverage of all kinds are available from a variety of vendors at the event.
- Smoking is permitted at the event in designated areas only.
- Recording, taping, or photographing shows with a professional camera is strictly prohibited as it violates the copyright/taping policies of the artists. Only approved media will be allowed to photograph artists.
- Security Search
- Security will search the bags of everyone as they enter the gates. See below for a list of items that are prohibited.
- Backpacks and purses (smaller than 20" x 15" x 9")
- Bug spray (non-aerosol)
- Sunscreen (non-aerosol)
- Ear plugs
- Mobile phones
Items Prohibited from the Event
- Aerosol containers, including sunscreen and beauty products
- Air horns and/or megaphones
- Any container of liquid other than one factory sealed bottle of water
- Any items that can be used as a means to disturb the peace or endanger the safety of others
- Bota bags
- Cameras with detachable lenses
- Camping tents, canopies, or shade structures of any kind
- Chinese lanterns
- Coolers of any kind (besides those advanced for medical use)
- Drones or any other remote flying device
- Fake IDs
- Fireworks, sparklers, firecrackers, and/or incendiary or explosive devices of any kind
- Flags and/or flagpoles
- Focused light devices (including laser pointers)
- Framed backpacks
- Glass containers of any kind
- Illegal or Illicit substances of any kind
- Large bags, purses, or backpacks (larger than 20" x 15" x 9")
- Mace / pepper spray
- Marker pens or spray paint
- Musical instruments
- Professional audio recording equipment
- Tailgating, grilling, or BBQing equipment
- Scooters or personalized motorized vehicles (unless in accordance with ADA regulations)
- Selfie Sticks ? Skateboards, rollerblades, 'hoverboards'
- Sleeping bags
- Sporting equipment (frisbees, footballs, whiffleballs, basketballs, soccer balls, etc.)
- Stuffed animals
- Unauthorized vending or soliciation materials (handbills, flyers, beach balls, samples, etc.)
- Walkie talkies
- Water guns, water balloons, and/or any kind of water projectile
- Weapons, knives, or firearms of any kind
For more information on the event, please visit the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration South's website.