Bicentennial celebration draws thousands for farewell party - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Bicentennial celebration draws thousands for farewell party

Fans celebrate some rock 'n' roll at the Bicentennial celebration in Gulfport. Fans celebrate some rock 'n' roll at the Bicentennial celebration in Gulfport.
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

It was the party 200 years in the making and people showed up the big birthday bash! Centennial Plaza was stuffed with people Saturday night for Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration South's Governor's Concert.

By the time The Band Perry took the stage, an estimated 12,500 people were filling the park, enjoying the festivities and the massive fireworks display that signaled the event's end.

Throughout the two-day event, Mississippi was celebrated for its great food, amazing art, soulful music and -- most importantly -- it's people. It truly was a celebration for the ages -- or rather for the last two centuries -- and it had plenty to offer. But the Magnolia State's story best told, perhaps, by its music.

"Music changes people's emotions,” said Warren Porter of Jackson. “It’s a very important way of relating a message and it’s very important for today.”

It was a message of diversity through genre. That's why Al Eldridge of Ocean Springs showed up.

“It all kind of melted together in Mississippi and formed what we now know as jazz and rock 'n' roll and every other genre,” said Eldridge. “What better way to celebrate the state’s bicentennial than with its music and musical roots?”

Kerry Mixon came all the way from Benndale to enjoy his Mississippi roots.

“We have bands that are from, that originated in Mississippi that are playing tonight,” Mixon said. “Something to be proud of.”

And those Mississippi roots are what brought The Band Perry back to their home state.

“We got the invitation to the bicentennial and we were like, we absolutely have to go back,” said country artist Kimberly Perry. “It’s Mississippi’s 200th birthday, which is a major deal for us. Of course, this state has been so near and dear to our hearts. We were born here, raised. Music started for us. So, we’re just excited to be part of the party.”

Day two of the highly anticipated event started out Saturday morning with a parade of state's southern cities and counties.

Police say that there were no major incidents, accidents, or arrests during the event.

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