Mardi Gras Parade Brings Beads and Fun to Ocean Springs

From the rain on the ground and the beads in the puddles, you know it's Mardi Gras season in South Mississippi.

"It's my first Mardi Gras!!"

Pennsylvania resident Wanda Roberts is already getting the hang of this local tradition.

"My cousin lives here and I came to visit, and she said you'll be here for the Mardi Gras parade, and I said Yes! I've never been! So she dropped me off because she didn't want to stand in the rain. But I said I was gonna!" Roberts says.

The hundreds of party-goers that lined this street didn't mind the wet conditions. Beads, bears, and bite sized candy rained down from nearly 100 floats.

April Cormier and her two kids are experienced bead catchers. Originally from Louisiana, Cormier says the Ocean Springs parade has her family's favorite Mardi Gras ingredients.

"We like all the beads, the music, the floats, and just hollerin!" Cormier says.

But this time, her family is catching beads for someone special. Cormier's husband Tim is stationed in Bahrain.

"Hopefully they'll throw us some really big ones so we can put em in a box, ship em to him, and he can have a little piece of the US here," Cormier says.

The thousands of beads tossed around today are only a fraction of what will be given out in the next few weeks. Float riders appear to have as much fun throwing the shiny strands as kids and adults enjoy adding to their neck collections.

With her own stash of dozens of beads, Roberts will have plenty of souvenirs to remember her first South Mississippi Mardi Gras.

"It paid off! Lots of stuff!" Roberts says.