The famous happy birthday melody was heard throughout a crowd of citizens at Gautier City Park, as they paid tribute to their city.
"Happy birthday, Gautier on your 20th birthday," Gautier Resident David Myles says.
The southern birthday party included watermelon, hamburgers, hot dogs, and of course cake. Just part of the celebration to recognize this young community and its history.
"Everybody can put aside their differences for a day and enjoy a celebration of good food, and understand a little about the history," event organizer Kathy Wilkinson says.
Since Gautier was formally declared a city in 1986, residents say they've seen a vast amount of positive changes take place. Including the expansion of Singing River Mall, and the only community college in the Jackson County.
"You have so many assets you have college, you have retail, and religion. You have education our high school is one of 2 blue ribbon schools in the state," State Representative John Read says.
State Representative John Read was the first elected mayor of city, and says he is proud of growth and the economic hardships Gautier has overcome.
"When I was elected mayor we would always cringe that we would reach 100,000 thousands a month sale tax receipts, now it is up to 3 and 4 hundred thousand," Read says.
The population has picked up with the economy. Read says almost 20 thousand people now live in Gautier, but despite the growth life long resident David Myles says the community still has that small town charm.
"We are so humble. It always somebody to talk to, you always have a warm welcome," Myles says.
And that attitude Mayor Pete Pope says makes Gautier a first class city.
"Our city has been a city of rapid recovery and a city of change. Our people have accepted this disaster storm, and we are on the road to rapid rebuilding," Gautier Mayor Pete Pope says. "And as far as the next 20 years. I like to see more small business come in, I like to see some condominiums come in, I would like to see where we can pay our city employees what they so rightfully deserve," Pope says.
According to city officials in 2002 the city of Gautier completed its annexation process, which tripled the size of the city.