BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Great things are happening for the Mississippi Coast Coliseum after an uncertain year due to COVID-19. Monday was a busy day for the Coliseum as it prepares for the 28th Annual Crawfish Festival, just one of many events returning to the location.
“While we’ve had business, it’s just been sporadic and smaller,” said Coliseum Executive Director Matt McDonnell. “Now we’re seeing a lot of positive things as we go into the summer that tells us that 2021 is going to be decent, and 2022 may be the greatest year we’ve ever seen.”
Crews spent Monday putting up tents and setting up rides, staging them all to be up and running Wednesday.
With events returning to the Coliseum, McDonnell went before the Harrison County Board of Supervisors Monday to discuss the progress made as things slowly get back to normal.
Disney on Ice brought in roughly 13,000 people and this weekend’s Crawfish Music Festival just may bring even more. McDonnell said over 6,000 tickets have been sold in advance for the three days of entertainment, hitting a record number.
“For Friday, Saturday, Sunday, we’ve had the highest amount of advance tickets sold in the 28-year history of the event,” he said. “So we know we got the right entertainment. We know that people are really hungry to get out and enjoy some good country music again,” McDonnell said.
McDonnell said May will also be a busy month and looks forward to a successful summer with graduations scheduled, including Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of Southern Miss’s Gulf Park campus.
“Graduations are pretty much going to return to normal, but we still have some protocols from a seating aspect where we’re allowing students to have six tickets,” McDonnell said. " I know people may question why can’t we have more, but we’re trying to keep things even and fair for what we do for one high school we do for all and some are bigger to accommodate their families.”