GCCA Parade Will Roll On Despite Obstacles

The theme has changed, and there won't be as many floats, but the parade will still roll on.

That's according to members of the Gulf Coast Carnival Association.

For nearly a hundred years, the parade has rolled down the streets of downtown Biloxi, attracting thousands of people from all over.

Despite some major obstacles, the parade is set to roll on schedule.

Doug Blom has decorated the Gulf Coast Carnival Association's floats for 21 Mardi Gras parades. This year, the artist really has his work cut out for him.

"They (the floats) are in bad, bad shape. We've had heavy equipment come in just to get them outside the door so we could start working on them. In fact, just two weeks ago, we got the last six that were still trapped inside the building," Blom said.

Seven of the floats were badly damaged in the storm and will have to be rebuilt from scratch.

Sixteen floats will roll in this year's parade.

That's compared to 21 from last year

"The scope of the damage that was done to them, then the repair we have to do is overwhelming, but we're just taking it one thing at a time, chipping away at it, getting it," Blom said.

It's a time-consuming job.

"We took off Thanksgiving and took off Christmas, besides that, we've been working every day," Blom said.

And the recent weather hasn't helped.

"We've got them primed. We put primer on them to protect them. I had hoped to start painting this weekend, but the weather didn't cooperate. Hopefully, this week we can get started," Blom said.

Blom says this has been the most challenging year he's ever had working on the floats, but you can expect to see 16 vibrant floats rolling down the streets of Biloxi on Mardi Gras day, as they always have in years past.

"Circus World" was supposed to be the parade's theme this year, but organizers decided to change it to "Still Standing, Still Shining" after the storm.

There will be only one parade this year instead of three.

It will be at 1 p.m. in downtown Biloxi on February 28.