BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - You can't have a Fais Do-Do without dancing. And, you can't have it without plenty of shrimp, served hot and spicy with all the trimmings.
That was enough reason to get Danette Van Huisen to change her annual November trip from Oklahoma to the Coast.
"Last year, we came in June and discovered this festival," she said. "So, we planned our trip this year to come for the festival again. It's because we love shrimp."
Organizer Wendy Fayard agreed that this has become an event to travel for.
"It brings in a lot of people," she said. "We have a lot of tours that contact us, and that's why we keep it on the same weekend. They make their vacations to come here. Yeah, it's a tourist attraction, but, at the same time, they can learn about our history."
It's a history of seafood workers and a way of life that Gloria Simmons knows well. She comes from a long line of shrimpers and seafood workers.
"The point really smelled," she said with a laugh. "And it was really funny because when we'd say, 'Oh, it stinks,' my mother used to say, 'Yeah, smell that money.'"
The Blessing of the Fleet festivities, including this 89th annual Fais Do-Do, are needed to continue the culture that many, she said, have forgotten.
"You know, this is our heritage," Simmons said. "This is very important to let our children know where they came from and how hard it was."
First-timer Paulettee Stern is eager to take it all in.
"I like the melting pot of this culture around here with everything from the shrimp industry," she said. "You know, there's so much history here. You wouldn't believe it, and I like it that everybody came come out here and see what's going on right here in Biloxi."
The ceremonies continue Sunday with the Blessing of the Fleet with the traditional wreath-drop at 2 p.m. in the Biloxi channel.