BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The celebration began before the real party started. A group of 60 family and friends from Jackson County danced the "Cupid Shuffle" to kill some time. They staked out a prime spot on Main Street in downtown Biloxi to catch the best Fat Tuesday action.
"We love Biloxi. We have a great time," said Marty Orgeron of Moss Point. "This is the place to be right here: Main Street on Mardi Gras Day!"
The screaming reached a crescendo as the Gulf Coast Carnival Association Parade kicked off right on time.
One family came dressed in colorful costumes. When asked what was the best part of the parade, the mom responded, "All the people and the excitement."
The crowd went wild begging for beads, stuffed animals, anything hanging on the floats. Parade revelers tossed piles of goodies into those outstretched hands.
"Hey, throw me something," Gay Nell Padgett shouted to the krewes on the floats.
The Moss Point woman found a more handy tool to catch the throws - an umbrella.
"Every time they throw me something, it hits me on the head and bounces off to somebody else. So I figured this way, I don't lose," said Padgett.
There were plenty of new faces in the crowd this year, even Santa. Ronnie McCornas and his friend came from Florida.
"I love it. It's awesome. I got all these neat beads. I love it. Whoo," he said.
And a lady from New York held up a sign proclaiming that she was a first timer, too.
"My first moon pie," she shouted as she took a big bite of the sweet cake.
"We're from Pennsylvania," two women exclaimed as they danced to the Mardi Gras Mambo.
No matter where they came from, the parade goers were ready to let the good times roll.
"Mardi Gras '09 baby. Whoo Mississippi!"