Long Beach Christmas boat parade takes two mayors to oversee action

Long Beach Christmas boat parade takes two mayors to oversee action

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - You don't need water for this boat parade.

On Saturday night, the Sea Santa Sail-A-Bration waterless boat parade cruised downtown Long Beach.

It's become a celebration of the holidays that stretches all the way to Carnival season. This year, it took two mayors to oversee the action.

On this night, 11-year-old Gavin Shorghofer got to be mayor of the Long Beach antique fire truck.

With that title comes all the perks of the office, like throwing beads for the waterless boat parade.

"It made me feel like I was on top of the world," Gavin said. "Made me feel like I was the best person of the world and made me feel like I was special."

Mayor George Bass asked Gavin to join the parade after he found out that his "Home Town Hero" homecoming costume in October, was the mayor himself.

"I asked him, Gavin, what made you choose the mayor to want to be as your hero," Bass said. "He said, 'Well, you used to be the fire chief and now you're the mayor. He said I want to do that too.' I hope that I live long enough to be able to vote for him, I think he'd be an excellent choice."

In the meantime, there was a parade to enjoy.

The event was sponsored by the Long Beach Community Development Association and featured  about 40 units.

Among them was Ronny Savoy's boat, Slap Full. "It's a lot better than going out front and getting in the rough water," he said.

His nephew, Randy Speed, is the chief decorator.

"They didn't have many boats last year," he said. "The competition got a little stiff so we went ahead and brought out the bigger boat with more lights."

The parade, which filled the streets in downtown is filling a specific party market.

"It's kind of a Christmas Gras, is what it's kind of turned into," said participant Brian Currie. "Everybody loves a good time, everybody loves to get out in the community. What better way to do it than have Christmas and Mardi Gras at the same time?"

Parade attendee Ashley Mullins says, "It's different, but it represents everything of South Mississippi. It represents the family, the fun, just the downright coastalness of the city."

After the parade, the celebration continued on Town Green with live music, Christmas tree lighting and of course, Santa Claus.

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