GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - There’s a lot to love about the Carnival season, especially in South Mississippi. But much of the typical events and celebrations have been canceled coastwide due to the surging COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are the floats, the lights, the decorations, the food,” 9-year-old Tom Farris said. “It’s all so awesome.”
U.S. Army veteran Joaquin Mello said “With COVID and everything going around, it is what it is. “You can’t fight it.”
However, the Mello family joins other residents in Gulfport neighborhood Florence Gardens by decking their home in purple, green and gold for a Yardi Gras contest.
“Just trying to get the Mardi Gras feel for the house by decorating, throwing the beads on the trees,” Joaquin said.
And neighbors are quickly picking favorite setups as more and more residents join in on the decorating.
“They’re also really colorful, shiny and colorful, like our neighbors,” 7-year-old Charlie Farris said.
There’s no prize for the winner of the Yardi Gras contest, but neighbors said they are decorating simply for the bragging rights and a chance to spread carnival cheer both during the day and at night.
“It’s part of tradition in Louisiana to decorate so we were going to do it regardless,” Nicole Mello said.
Her family spent four years living at Fort Polk in Louisiana and they are excited to bring over customs from their past home to their current home in Mississippi.
“It’s still a vibe of Mardi Gras going on,” Joaquin said, “Still celebrating even with theses times going on right now.”
Organizers said the official judging will be on February 9th and more houses are expected to be extravagant by then.