100+ Floats Roll In GCCA Fat Tuesday In Biloxi

For a century now people in Biloxi have been waving their arms and shouting, "Throw me something, Mister." This year the Gulf Coast Carnival Association celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Thousands watched more than 100 floats parade through the downtown streets. For the revelers, Fat Tuesday is a chance to hang out and get loose. But that's not the case for Kristyn Pauley. The Biloxi Indian says once the Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade starts, the band is all business.

Pauley said, "It's pretty intense, especially when I get around people I know and they start screaming my name. I can't look at them because I'm at attention, but I love it."

Capt. Billy Bowlegs the 53rd said, "This is the cradle of Mardi Gras."

Bowlegs aka Brock Fisher said GCCA's rich history is what drew the Krewe of Bowlegs from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Biloxi. The Krewe participates in parades in several states. But they say they're in love with a parade that started in Biloxi back in 1908 with just 17 floats and one band.

"Here it's old, old," said Captain Bowlegs. "We like that. Everywhere else we go, they're just recent. Maybe in the last 50 or 60 years they started something like that. Also the hospitality, the wonderful folks of this area - Biloxi, Gulfport - that's another reason why we like to come here. And it's a great parade."

While some float riders came from far away, others came from not so far. Members of the Carnival Association of Long Beach say they're happy to support their sister organization.

Jason Green said, "Gulf Coast Carnival is the largest association here on the coast. We enjoy it. It's the culmination of Mardi Gras here on the coast, and we just enjoy being a part of it. So many other floats and it's a good time."

Those who tossed out beads and doubloons, or played a little tune, said seeing those happy smiling faces makes everything worthwhile.

Kristyn Pauley said, "It's so exciting. When you see people getting into it and knowing you're a part of it. That just makes being part of the band worth it."