Avast, ye swabbies and scurvy dogs - don your swashbuckling finery and enjoy the parrrr-ty in the Bay St. Louis historic district!
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson and Lionel Haynes, Jr.
The event includes fireworks, the Pirate Play Zone kid’s playground and costume contest, a pub crawl and riverboat cruise for adult pirates, belly dancers, live music and craft vendors. The fest has become so popular that it has earned a spot in the Top 20 events in the Southeast. Organizers expect 3,000-plus people over the May 17-18 weekend. “Pirate Central” will be anchored at the corner of Beach Boulevard and Court Street, with vendors set up across Court Street.
As you might expect from the Seahorse Krewe, this bunch of pirates knows how to throw a party. The celebration starts on Thursday night with a special party for sponsors and members. The $25 ticket price includes drinks and food.
The general public festivities kick off at 4 pm on Friday, May 17 with the arrival of the pirates. On Friday evening you can buy a $20 ticket to the Pirate’s Pub Crawl, with a dozen local businesses participating, a scavenger hunt, and the Castaways playing music at 8 pm. This adults-only event requires tickets, which can be purchased in advance or at Pirate Central that day.
On Saturday, the Lil’ Buccaneers’ Parade starts at 11 am. Led by the Bay Ratz Marching Battery, the parade will begin at the corner of Main and Second Streets and end at Pirate Central. The costume contest, complete with prizes, begins at 1 pm. Kids can also enjoy the Pirate Play Zone, open from 11 am until 7 pm (fee required for entrance).
Saturday’s Pirate Cruise on the Betsy Ann riverboat is sold out, but you can enjoy the Pirate Invasion Parade when they come ashore around 5 pm.
Free non-ticketed activities in and around Pirate Central include performances by two local dance studios: Arabesque and the Studio of Classique Vibe and belly dancing by Amira. Vendors will be selling crafts all day, and Dr. Rock and the Interns will perform from 7 to 11 pm. Pirate Day wraps up at 9 pm with fireworks over the harbor, sponsored by the Silver Slipper Casino.
The event sponsors are Silver Slipper Casino, ABC Rental, Bayou Caddy Utility South, Rosetti’s Liquor Barrel, Vintage Lighthouse and Beacon Theater.
Rosetti said the Seahorse Krewe stays active all year and continues to grow, signing up locals and residents from Louisiana and north of I-10 as members on a weekly basis. Total membership stands at nearly 300.
Besides Pirate Day there’s the Seahorse Open, held the third weekend in October, the fun-packed Lundi Gras golf cart parade, and the Inspection Ball in June to announce the Krewe’s king and queen. “Then once a month we have a membership social at a business in town that has anywhere from 75 to 125 people,” Rosetti said.
Krewe members also take part in the Biloxi Shucker Halfway to Mardi Gras celebration and recently took second place in the Dancing with the Relay Stars in the fundraising division.
“Overall we went to continue to grow each year so we can give more and more back to the community,” Rosetti said.
The Krewe’s debut five years ago was part of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bay St. Louis, which featured a rousing reenactment between two Biloxi schooners. Look for another reenactment Dec. 12-13 for the 205th anniversary of the battle. Details can be found on the Krewe’s website or their Facebookpage.
This New Orleans-based Country/Rockabilly band that will be performing in Bay St. Louis on March 10th defies all stereotypes.
- Story by Pat Murphy
Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue will be performing at the 100 Men Hall in Bay St. Louis on Sunday, March 10, from noon - 4pm. Advance tickets are only $15 ($20 at the door). Buy yours online now.
This music would encompass the likes of Webb Pearce, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and George Jones. My Dad's family were rural farm people, and when I was a child he would sing me to sleep at night with old Jimmy Rogers songs.
Several months after hearing about Gal Holiday's performance at Jazz Fest, a number of us made a road trip to Ruby's Roadhouse in Mandeville to see the band perform live. Anyone who isn't familiar with Ruby's should know that it is a roadhouse in every sense of the word. That night at Ruby's I discovered that Gal Holiday was much more than Patsy Cline and that this band could rip through old honky tonk country and rockabilly music with the best of them.
About nine months ago I saw Gal Holiday (real name Vanessa Niemann) when the band performed for an open air concert series sponsored by the Pass Christian library. Though I wouldn't have thought it possible, the band was even more diverse at this event, performing a broad range of tunes from John Prine and Johnny Cash to Leona Williams.
I was extremely excited to learn that the band would be bringing its diverse brand of self-described "punkabilly music" to Bay St. Louis's historic 100 Men D.B.A. Hall on Sunday, March 10, at 1pm for a live performance. Tickets are $20.00 at the door.
The band was founded in 2004 by Vanessa Niemann, and their popularity has steadily grown with regular performances at clubs, roadhouses and concerts in the New Orleans area. The band is regularly featured at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. They continue to perform and tour both in the U.S. and abroad in Europe.
The Honky Tonk Revue is comprised of talented, seasoned musicians armed with powerful songwriting capabilities. The musicians who make up the band are as follows:
Vanessa "Gal Holiday" Niemann handles the job of bandleader and primary vocalist. She arrived in New Orleans in 1999 from the Maryland area and put this band together five years later.
Justin LeCuyer handles acoustic rhythm guitar and vocals for the group. He came to New Orleans in 2012 to explore the music scene and has been there ever since.
Corey McGillivary is the group's very talented Acoustic upright bass player, and she also sings background vocals.
The lead guitarist for The Honky Tonk Revue is Jimbo Mathus, who I really like because of his ability to play in that single picking country and rockabilly twang style of guitar.
Tony Frickey plays drums for the band and does a really great job.
When Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue roll into the 100 Men Hall, you can expect an afternoon of great old-style country music in the vein of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Leona Williams and Webb Pearce. Also look for a generous helping of the band's original material showcasing their individual songwriting talents. Armed with this kind of versatility, they put on a show that I promise you won't forget.
Their latest CD is entitled "Lost & Found." The band's performances never grow old and continue to delight everyone, from rowdy roadhouse two- steppers to new country music listeners as well.
While the music of New Orleans is most often thought of in terms of funk and jazz, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue continue to prove that the Crescent City always celebrates its musical diversity with a lot enthusiasm. Country music is alive and well, and you'll know it when you experience this band. I hope to see you at the show.
Folk pianist George Winston brings NOLA inspiration to his concert at Hancock PAC on February 25.
- story by Lisa Monti
Click here to purchase tickets online!
Winston’s rural folk style is unique, but those who attend his Kiln concert will recognize the musical inspiration he draws from New Orleans R&B pianists Henry Butler, James Booker, Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Jon Cleary and his good friend, Allen Toussaint.
Winston has recorded 14 piano solo albums and has three awaiting release. His resume includes the solo piano soundtrack for “The Velveteen Rabbit” and the soundtrack for a Peanuts episode. The Kiln also audience can expect to hear some Vince Guaraldi-inspired Charlie Brown and gang pieces as well as Winston’s solo guitar and harmonica talents. He plays exclusively on Steinway pianos, and one is being brought in for the Kiln show.
Winston, a Montana native, has a Mississippi connection: he attended junior high in Jackson, and he has played at venues in Ocean Springs. “It’s great to get back there to Mississippi,” he said, calling the state “an island all its own. It’s definitely not Tennessee, Louisiana or Alabama.”
His upcoming local performance came about as “a happy accident,” according to Catherine Tibbs, HPAC coordinator. When Winston couldn’t get an Ocean Springs venue booked, his agent found the HPAC’s website and got in touch. Winston, Tibbs said, “likes going to new places because he’s played so many different venues.”
Winston said he’s “heard very good things” about the Hancock County facility which has 842 seats, state of the art equipment and brag-worthy acoustics and lighting. Proceeds from this concert will benefit the Hancock High School Education Foundation. Guests are encouraged to bring a donation of canned food to the concert to benefit the Hancock County Food Pantry.
Tibbs said the foundation supports Hancock High’s arts programs. “We have so many talented students in the district and the building was created for those underserved students. The proceeds will provide funding to purchase instruments, fund theatrical master classes to prepare the performers and to get the choir started up again.”
Tibbs is hoping for a good turnout for Winston’s performance “to show we have and appreciation for his music and we want him to return.”
Winston’s Hancock High performance will consist of two one-hour sets though he doesn’t yet have a set list. “I won’t know the song titles until that day or until I do it,” he said of his concert sets. “I have to really want to play the song. Otherwise, “I can’t do it.”
An evening with celebrated solo pianist
Monday, February 25 7-9 p.m.
Hancock Performing Arts Center
7140 Stennis Airport Drive, Kiln
General admission seating: $25
Tickets available through Eventbrite or the Hancock PAC Facebook Page
For more info, or help buying tickets, call (228) 255 6247
Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke reports on the upcoming Nereids Parade, the recent conference of the Mississippi Municipal League, and recent appointments made by Mayor Smith.
Please read the notice below regarding the Nereids parade.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
PUBLIC NOTICE FROM THE CITY OF WAVELAND
Board Members Go To Capitol
Waveland Mayor Mike Smith, Alderman Bobby Richardson, and I recently attended the Mississippi Municipal League’s 2019 Mid-Winter Legislative Conference in Jackson, Mississippi.
Along with approximately 500 municipal leaders from all over Mississippi, we participated in discussions of current legislative issues and their impact on local governments and attended sessions to listen to ideas to help move Waveland forward. We also networked with legislators and business leaders at the Gulf Coast Legislative Reception and at the capitol to provide them important feedback on issues that are critical to Waveland.
While in Jackson Mayor Smith, Alderman Richardson and I met with Mississippi Development Authority leadership to ask for additional funding for a community building at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Herlihy Street. I’m pleased to report that Mayor Smith got word in mid-January from the Mississippi Development Authority that Waveland got the additional funding required to fund the building at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
Attending the MML's Mid-Winter Conference and visiting the capitol during the legislative session are valuable components of Waveland’s progress forward.
In accordance with Waveland’s charter, Mayor Mike Smith was required to make his appointments to several positions at the first meeting of the new administration. The list of the mayor’s appointments are as follows:
The two changes that Mayor Mike Smith made was appointing former Assistant Chief Michael Prendergast as the Waveland Police Chief. Chief Prendergast replaces Dave Allen.
Chief Allen has served as Waveland Police Chief since 2013 and served Waveland well. He led a department that was facing a number of lawsuits to one of the most respected police departments in South Mississippi. I’m happy to report that Dave Allen has agreed to stay with the Waveland Police Department to serve as Head of Investigations and a full-time Cyber Crimes Investigator for the city of Waveland.
I’m positive Chief Prendergast will do a stellar job. His 30-plus years of experience in law enforcement and fresh perspective will be invaluable for the Waveland Police Department. I am confident that under Chief Prendergast’s dedicated leadership, the Police Department will continue to work diligently in protecting our community against crime, while implementing best practices, new technologies and initiatives to ensure the department is able to meet the growing needs of our city.
The other change that was made was the appointment of Ron Duckworth as city clerk. The appointment of Ron is only a temporary appointment. Ron will still hold his position as comptroller, but Mayor Smith informed the Board of Aldermen that his desired choice of city clerk wouldn’t be ready to begin work as city clerk until February, so Ron was temporarily appointed to fill the position.
The historic charms of Bay St. Louis provide the perfect backdrop for Halloween events, like the annual Cedar Rest Cemetery Tour. This year, a growing coven of colorful costumers takes to the streets of Old Town in a Witches Walk for charity.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
Editor's note: As of October 20, 170 "witches" have registered for the 4th annual Witches Walk through Old Town on Saturday, Oct. 27th!
Registration is closed, but wanna-be witches who didn't register in time can still costume and come down to Old Town independently to be part of the fun - they simply can't take part in the official contests.
And of course, donations to make this benefit event even more successful are welcome too (look for the green pumpkin at the Mockingbird Café).
See the full Witches Walk schedule at the bottom of this page!
On Saturday, Oct. 27, the Fourth Annual Witches Walk will cast a fun spell over Old Town as dazzling witches explore the shops, restaurants and galleries from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The gathering kicks off at the Mockingbird Café (110 S. Second Street) and meanders in downtown for shopping, eating and socializing. 27 merchants will be participating with specials and refreshments, including Lulu's on Main (126 Main Street) and Bodega/Parrot Head Bar & Grill (111 Court Street). Registered costumers will get numbers from participating businesses to play Witches Wingo – a holiday themed Bingo game.
After lunch, at around 1:30 p.m., the registered witches will meet outside of Lulu’s on Main (126 Main Street) to start their parade to Cuz’s restaurant (108 S. Beach Blvd.), led by the Bay Ratz Marching Battery (see the full expanded schedule at the bottom of this page!)
To cap off the day, there will be a dance around the cauldron at Cuz’s restaurant, where prizes donated by Old Town Merchants will be awarded for best hat, shoes and brooms and the winning Wingo card.
Bay St. Louis resident and costumer extraordinaire, Karen West, is one of the event organizers. West says it all started when she and a few friends dressed up for a Halloween birthday luncheon in 2012. Last year, 36 women participated.
This year, organizers originally hoped to double that number. But after 75 tickets sold out immediately and people clamored for more, the event was expanded to encompass more Old Town venues. When registration closed for a second time this year, 170 witches had registered - and organizers had to turn away dozens more. The $10 registration fee will benefit the Hancock County Food Pantry and the Bay Ratz Marching Battery. Witches will pay for their own libations and food along the way.
But wanna-be witches who didn't register in time can still costume and come down to Old Town independently to be part of the fun - they simply can't take part in the official contests.
And of course, donations to make this benefit event even more successful are welcome too (look for the green pumpkin at the Mockingbird Café).
“It’ll be a day of fun and frivolity, for sure!” West declared.
More Local Halloween Events
Cedar Rest Cemetery Tour
The 24th annual Cedar Rest Cemetery Tour, which traditionally was held on Halloween evening, will take place on Friday, Oct. 26. The 45-minute tours will begin every 10 minutes, starting at 5 p.m.
The historic cemetery is the resting place of many interesting residents, and each year the Hancock County Historical Society members and volunteers portray some of the more notable ones.
This year, in honor of the 100th anniversary of World War I’s end, eight “ethereal residents” will represent Doughboys and sailors, Buffalo Soldiers, nurses and others who will share their wartime experiences and contributions. Admission is free but donations to the Historical Society are encouraged.
Cedar Rest is located at 200 South Second Street. For more information call 228-467-4090.
Halloween at McLeod Park
Also on Saturday, Oct. 27, McLeod Park Campground will host its annual Halloween event from 5 to 10 p.m. Kids can enjoy a costume contest, various games and trick or treating.
McLeod Park Campground is located at 8100 Texas Flat Road in Kiln. for more info, call 228-467-1894 or visit the Facebook page.
Halloween Bash on Coleman Ave.
Waveland is hosting its annual Halloween Bash on Coleman Avenue this year on Halloween night, Wednesday, October 31st. From 5:30 - 7:30, there'll be tricks, treats, face-painting and a haunted house. Residents and businesses are invited to set up for the evening on Coleman Avenue to pass out candy. For more information, call the Waveland City Hall at 228-467-4134.
Complete Witches Walk Schedule
Talk of the Town - August 2018
- story by Lisa Monti
The 98th annual Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge will be hosted by the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club Sept. 1-2. Organizers expect about 1,000 people over Labor Day weekend to watch yacht clubs compete in a high-performance sport boat new to the historic race.
“This will be the first year for the Viper 640, so there is going to be a lot more interest,” said Eugene Schmitt, Vice Commodore of the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club and 2018 Lipton Regatta chair.
The Gulf Yachting Association, which consists of more than 30 yacht clubs from Texas to Florida, has adopted only two other classes of boats since 1920.
The Fish Class sloop was adopted for the first Lipton Challenge. From 1969 to 2017, the Flying Scot was the official class.
Talk of the Town
The New Viper 640 in Action
The BWYC was reorganized in 1921 as the Bay-Waveland Yacht and Athletic Club. The club was admitted to the Gulf Yachting Association in 1922, according to the club’s website.
Schmitt said eight Bay-Waveland members have served as commodore of the Gulf Yachting Association: John Rawlings (1904), Eaton Bowers (1909), J. Alvin Weinfurter (1957), Henry Chapman (1967), Harry Chapman (1982), Basil Kennedy (1992), Walter Chamberlain (2002) and Judy Reeves (2009).
“The Bay-Waveland Yacht Club is steeped in history with the Lipton Cup,” Schmitt said. “We’ve won it 24 times in its 98-year history.”
The previous year’s winner generally hosts the regatta on their home waters every year. Last year’s host Pass Christian Yacht Club tied with Bay-Waveland in total points at the end of the regatta, but Bay-Waveland lost the tie-breaker. The Lipton rules prevent a club from hosting in consecutive years. “So we’re hosting it as runner-up,” Schmitt said.
The winner gets the perpetual trophy to display in the club for a year. “Our hope is we will bring it over from the Pass to the Bay and place it right at the top of the stairs for the next year,” Schmitt said.
Bay Reads - June 2018
- by Carole McKellar
On Saturday, July 14, Pass Books in Pass Christian hosts Joyce Carol Oates from 6:00 to 7:00. The event features two story collections published in 2018, “Beautiful Days” and “Night Gaunts.” You may purchase books at the bookstore signed by Ms. Oates.
One of America’s most prolific writers, Oates has more than 40 novels published under her name plus 11 others using the pseudonyms Rosamond Smith and Lauren Kelly. In addition, she has written short story collections, novellas, volumes of poetry, plays, essays, memoirs, young adult fiction, and books for children.
Beautiful Days, published this year, consists of eleven stories. All of the stories previously appeared in respected periodicals but never appeared together. The subject matter is diverse including stories of extramarital affairs and suicide alongside fantasy.
“Les Beaux Jours” is about a vulnerable girl desperate for the love of her absent father. She is drawn into a Balthus painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The subject imagines herself a prisoner inside the painting and writes a letter to her father begging him to rescue her from the cruelties imposed by the Master.
In “Undocumented Alien” a Nigerian student is saved from deportation by participating in a classified research project. A chip implanted in his brain adversely affects his cognitive function and drives him to madness. This chilling story describes a young man fighting to maintain his humanity.
Although the eleven stories are disturbing and generally dark in tone, I liked this collection. Oates is a skilled and imaginative writer.
Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense is on my nightstand, and I look forward to reading the six creepy tales within. The first story, “The Woman in the Window,” is a reimagining of Edward Hopper’s painting, ’11 A.M., 1926,’ which features a woman sitting in an apartment window naked except for high heels. That painting is on the front cover of “Beautiful Days.”
At eighty years old, Joyce Carol Oates continues to earn the respect of readers and writers alike. She avoids celebrity and has cultivated a reputation for hard work and professionalism. Oates is regularly discussed as a strong contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature. I look forward to meeting Ms. Oates at Pass Books and consider it an honor for the coast to have such a literary icon visit.
Talk of the Town - May 2018
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
The Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse promises music and mayhem in Old Town for their 4th annual Pirate Day in the Bay. With so much fun planned, the “day” actually amounts to a weekend, kicking off with a couple of parties before the full blown celebration on Saturday.
Pirates, it turns out, like lots of time to party.
John Rosetti, president of the krewe, expects thousands to take part in this year’s Pirate Day. “In the past I have met visitors from all over the country at Pirate Day. Some have since purchased homes and are now members of our organization. Visitors come and enjoy our event and friendly town and want to be here year round."
Talk of the Town
The historic observance of the little known battle launched the krewe’s Lundi Gras golf cart parade as well as Pirate Day. Both have grown each year and now both are much anticipated events enjoyed by visitors and local celebrants. Pirate Central, at the corner of Main Street and Beach Boulevard, is headquarters for all things Pirate Day.
Thursday - May 17
Friday - May 18
The Pirate Pub Crawl and Scavenger Hunt from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday will feature music at Pirate Central and the search for a hidden treasure chest in Old Town.
“We have about 10 bars and restaurants you can go to and get a drink and a clue. From those clues you can go find the treasure chest,” Rosetti said.
The finder of the chest will receive about $500 worth of goods, including liquor and gift certificates from downtown merchants and others. Tickets for the event are $20 and can also be purchased online.
Saturday - May 19
The costume contest follows the parade, also at Pirate Central. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the contest gets underway at noon. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: age 9 and under; age 10 to 16 and adults.
Lil’ Buccaneers can enjoy all sorts of fun and games in the Kids Zone at the foot of Main Street. There will be a waterslide, inflatables and games for kids.
From 3pm - 5pm, pirates and other celebrants can take a two-hour cruise on the paddlewheel Betsy Ann.
“We’re really excited about the Betsy Ann coming over from Biloxi for this cruise around the beautiful bay,” Rosetti said. The $50 cruise ticket gets you drinks, music and snacks.
“Once the Pirates land at the Municipal Harbor, the Pirate Golf Cart Parade will roll through Old Town,” Rosetti said. “No need to register, just bring your golf cart to the harbor (dress as Pirates) and enjoy the parade.
Pirates must be 21 years old to take part in the Pub Crawl and the Pirate Cruise.
The pirates will be going out with a bang. The festivities conclude with music and a fireworks show (thanks to sponsor Silver Slipper) by the Bay St. Louis harbor at 9pm.
Talk of the Town - April 2018
- story by LB Kovac, photos by Ana Balka, Lionel Haynes, Jr. and courtesy Relay for Life
Members of participating community teams will take shifts walking or jogging in this fun "marathon" event that raises money for the American Cancer Society. Teams will also sell snacks, drinks and register folks for prizes.
Click here to register for the event! Don't have a team? Join one, they'll be delighted to have you!
The 2018 Hancock and Harrison Counties Relay for Life Honorary Survivor Art Clementin celebrated his 70th birthday this year. "I'm 70 years young," he tells me over the phone in a big, booming voice, laughing.
A former educator and school administrator, he keeps his days full volunteering with local social organization Men of God, teaching Bible classes, and delivering a radio show three times a week. "I'm doing whatever I can to be involved in and help our community," he says.
Just nine years ago, this idyllic picture was a little darker for Clementin. He got a scary diagnosis: early stage prostate cancer.
"I was very fortunate," he says. "Very blessed."
Talk of the Town
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, an average of 14,000 people in our state are newly diagnosed with cancer each year. Colorectal and breast cancers are the most common diagnoses, but prostate and mouth cancer diagnoses are on the rise.
The costs of cancer treatment, coupled with the increasing number of diagnoses, mean that cancer is also close to eclipsing heart disease as the number one killer in Mississippi. In 2016, 20% of deaths in the state were caused by cancer, according to the Health Department.
Clementin puts his faith in the research that is carried on by organizations such as the American Cancer Society. "I was assisted [in my own recovery] because of research done years ago," he says. "I'm a recipient of lots of people's research and hard work in the medical field."
Clementin's role as Honorary Survivor comes with quite a bit of responsibility. It's not wearing a sash and waving at crowds - Clementin must help bridge the gap between cancer survivors and the public, whose donations can greatly affect the outcomes of their diagnoses.
"That's why I want to encourage as many people as possible to attend," says Clementin. "We need to get the public involved and fight this horrible disease." With more donations, the research necessary to fight the spread of cancer can proceed.
Bernadette Cullen, along with her co-chair Nonnie Richardson, are the organizers of this year's Harrison and Hancock Counties Relay for Life. The event is slated to take place April 21 at the Our Lady of the Gulf Crabfest grounds.
story continued below
Scenes from past Relay For Life Events, Hancock County
Cullen points out that Relay for Life is different from other cancer fundraisers because it doesn't just support one type of cancer. "All types - breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, leukemia - you name it, we support it. The money goes to help research for all types."
She adds, "Most of the money stays locally. It goes to all kinds of things that your neighbors need, like medicine, doctor visits, rides, etc."
Without the focus on a particular cancer, Relay for Life attendees and organizers are free to focus on the survivors themselves. People like Clementin, who have successfully treated their cancer, as well as people who are still actively battling their cancers.
Talk of the Town - January 2018
- story by Ellis Anderson, photos by Ellis Anderson and Brenda Comer
On January 13th, mile-high hairdos, rhinestones, and exaggerated décolletage will become the order of the day as Bay St. Louis celebrates Dolly Parton’s birthday.
The event is piggy-backed onto the town’s monthly Second Saturday Artwalk which has been held for more than two decades and has established itself as one of the most popular art happenings in the state.
For the past three years, the January artwalk has been known as “Dolly Should” – as in, of course Dolly Parton should come to Bay St. Louis for her birthday.
“Country” is the theme of the day, so festivities include a hayride, square-dancing, a pie contest, a Dolly-themed art show and a pop-up beauty parlor, just in case you left your beehive at home. Cloggers will perform and a community mural will be taking shape at Main and Second streets.
Talk of the Town
Organizers are expecting even more contestants this year. Photographer Ann Madden and silversmith Sandy Maggio own Smith & Lens Gallery and are the creators of the annual birthday bash.
“Getting people who attend to commit to even a little bit of country costume makes it a big party,” says Madden. “And folks who go all out just seem to come alive under that big hair. So it’s a fantastic, feel-good, family event.”
Madden and Maggio came up with the idea of artist-themed birthday parties to spice up the Second Saturday Artwalks. They began with a “Frida Fest” in July 2014, to celebrate the birth of legendary Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The premier fest surprised everyone with its instant popularity.
The event is self-generated by the Old Town Merchants Association, without any assist from the city. Madden and Maggio say that it only works because most downtown businesses volunteer to participate. A restaurant might offer a country-themed special, while a shop might host a pie contest or hayride. Event publicity takes place mostly through social media.
“This town is just incredible,” says Maggio. “Everybody pitches in.”
Which is made easier since the event is wrapped around such an iconic musical artist. Both women point to Parton as an inspirational figure, beloved for her philanthropy, as well as her music. The star’s down-home simplicity is another reason for her appeal.
“Who doesn’t love Dolly?” says Madden. “For nearly sixty years, she’s been making music without compromise. She’s unapologetically herself.”
“I’ll bet the wigs are already sold out on the coast,” says Maggio.
Maggio’s big dream for this year’s celebration?
“My number one wish is that Dolly would just show up with her entourage,” Maggio says. “I would just die.”
“And of course, I want everyone to think of Bay St. Louis as a fun, happening little place,” she continues. “Because we are.”
Participants in the Dolly Look-alike contest should register between 5 pm and 7 pm at Smith & Lens Gallery, 106 South Second St. The entry fee is $10, with prizes being original “works of art.”
Check back here soon for a full roster of Dolly Should events/times/places.
- story by Lisa Monti
Picture your family and friends gathering in a field on a Saturday evening in December, listening to live music and enjoying tasty food truck fare. Then imagine the spectacular sight of everyone lighting personalized sky lanterns and letting them take flight in a choreographed release into the winter sky.
Mark your calendars.
The Lights Fest is coming to the Hancock County Fair Grounds on Dec. 2 as part of a series of events all around the country. All are produced by Viive Events, a for-profit company “dedicated to making a lasting impact in each community we visit.”
Talk of the Town
Kevin Ladner, Hancock County’s recreation director, said the local site was selection for a couple of reasons. “They picked the fairground because we had a wide open space - about 80 acres - and we could handle the crowd they’re expecting, 5,000 to 8,000 people.”
Location was another reason, he said. “They are going to target New Orleans and Mobile, and we’re within an hour or so” of both cities.
Ladner said the wind direction on the day of the event will dictate where the lanterns will be lit and released safely.
Tickets sold online start at $35 and move up to $55 as the date of the event nears. Kids 3 or younger get in free; ages 4 to 12 pay $8.
For the price of admission and a signed waiver, you’ll get a sky lantern, a flashlight, keychain and marker to personalize your lantern.
Brings chairs or a blanket and find a place near one of the Tiki torches used to set the lanterns ablaze. Around twilight, the live entertainment and kid friendly activities begin.
Depending on wind conditions and when local fire officials give the word, you’ll get instructions on how to prepare and launch your lanterns. Organizers say they have “made safety the cornerstone of our business practice.”
Alcohol isn’t permitted and neither or pets.
For more information, or to volunteer or be a vendor, go to the Lights Fest website.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
Put Thursday, Oct. 5 on your calendar under “A Good Day for Good Vibes!” That’s the date of Starfish Fest 2017, when great live music, delicious food and various vendors will fill the grounds at the historic Depot in Bay St. Louis from noon to sunset.
The event is a fundraiser to benefit the non-profit Starfish Cafe’s capital campaign, and while admission is free, donations will be happily accepted, just like at the cafe (211 Main Street, Bay St. Louis).
“For the event itself, you pay what you want. We’ll have donation buckets on the grounds,” said Di Fillhart, executive director of PNEUMA Winds of Hope, the nonprofit which oversees the cafe. All contributions will go toward the purchase of the cafe’s home on Main Street.
Talk of the Town
Besides food and music, the festival will feature Vendor-Palooza, a collection of all sorts of merchandise for sale. Organizers were looking for something different for the event and came up with the idea to raffle off a real tree with branches loaded up with a variety of gift cards.
The event is free and open to the public, with limited VIP seating at the festival available for $30 per person (click here to purchase online). These will get you close to the stage for live music by headliner Michael Grimm, Will Kimbrough and the Bay Ratz Marching Battery.
In the meantime, an online vendor application is available on the event’s Facebook page, and anyone who wants to donate gift cards or other prizes for the tree giveaway can drop them off at the cafe at 211 Main Street.
For more information and to purchase VIP tickets, go to www.starfishcafebsl.com.
Hancock Medical Center
- by Ellis Anderson
Hancock County is known more for its friendly people than glitz and glamour, but Moonlight on the Bay is one event where both come together. The annual black-tie affair – now in its 21st year – will bring together hundreds of Hancock Medical Center supporters on Friday, September 22nd, at Hollywood Casino’s Cypress Cove Ballroom.
The gala is produced by and benefits the Hancock Medical Center Foundation, a non-profit organization that has supported the county’s only hospital for more than three decades. The funds raised by the event are used to enhance hospital services and equipment, helping make Hancock Medical a state-of-the-art facility.
Each year, the event honors one individual who has been pivotal in the hospital’s success. In 2017, the honoree is surgeon Brian Anthony, M.D. The beloved physician has been serving Hancock county patients for more than 21 years.
The gala begins at 6pm with a patrons’ party cocktail hour, with the sit-down dinner and video/honoree program beginning at 7:30pm. From 9pm – 11:30pm, patrons dance to live music by Witness and continue vying for items up for bid in the silent auction.
Tickets are $100 per person, with different patron levels beginning at $150 and can be reserved by calling Tom Carlton at (228) 467-8790.
Tom Carlton, Hancock Medical marketing/development director, says that one of the highlights this year will be the attendance of a former patient, Richard Empson.
By the time Empson - two-time cancer survivor - arrived at the hospital, his chances for survival were extremely low. He and his family credit the quick action of Anthony and the HMC staff for saving his life.
“We always have lots hotel stays and casino packages and restaurant certificates,” says Carlton. “We always have so many items, thanks to the generosity of our local businesses and patrons.”
Money raised by past Moonlight On the Bay events has been used to help fund the lifesaving Telestroke Program, fetal monitoring systems, mobile ultrasounds, mammography assistance for the uninsured, the Joseph Lee M.D. operating room suite and much more (click here to read more).
Carlson says dress for the event is black-tie optional with some attendees opting for tuxedos or formals and others dressing in business attire.
For more information or to reserve seating, call Carlton at (228) 467-8790.
July's Hot Spots: Identity Vintage and Vinyl, 131 Main Street, and Gallery 220, 220 Main Street.
- by Traci Shields
This specially themed Second Saturday artwalk on July 8th celebrates the birthday of iconic artist Frida Kahlo with an extraordinary costume contest and a fiesta of other special happenings!
This event has quickly become one of the absolutely do-not-miss annual celebrations on the coast.
Make sure to visit Hot Spot businesses Identity Vintage (111 Main Street) and Gallery 220 (220 Main Street).
Complete Frida Fest Schedule!
This Second Saturday column is sponsored by
Click here and scroll down to read archived Second Saturday columns
http://passmainstreet.com/businesses/All Afternoon :
~ Flower Crowns available at French Potager, 213 Main Street
~ Special menus at:
- Starfish Cafe, 211 Main Street
- Mockingbird Cafe, 110 S. Second Street
- Sycamore House, 210 Main Street
- Sonny's Cypress Cafe - 300 S. Second Street.
- Trapani's Eatery - 116 North Beach
- 200 North Beach - 200 N. Beach Blvd.
~ Frida-themed door prize at Hot Spot Identity Vintage, 131 Main Street (no purchase necessary to enter!), drawing at 7:30. Taquitos and Punch served at Identity Vintage beginning at 5 til....
~ Roaming Luchadores available for photo ops
~ Community Mural at Social Chair, 201 Main Street
~ Frida inspired art and gifts all over town
~ Mexican Folkloric Dance from New Orleans Hispano America Dance Group (spontaneous start time)
4:00pm - 2nd Saturday begins - listen for the sounds of the Bay's own Bay Ratz Marching Battery with the amazing Skinz & Bonez from New Orleans
4:30pm - registration opens for Frida Be You & Me Look Alike contest at Smith & Lens Gallery
4:30pm - Imagination Station at French Potager, 213 Main Street: make Papel Picado (Mexican cut out flags)
5:00pm - Loteria (Mexican Bingo) opens on courtyard next to Smith & Lens Gallery, 106 S. Second Street
5:00pm - Frida Food at Hot Spot Gallery 220, 220 Main Street
5:30pm - strolling mariachi begins at Hot Spot Identity Vintage, 131 Main Street, and will wander through old town
5:30pm - Pearl's Girls will begin their Salsa Dance demo at Shops at 126 Main Street.
5:30pm - super-cool airbrushed tattoos available from Paul's Tattoo Parlor at Bay-Tique, 125 Main Street
6:30pm - Blue Magnolia performs at The Mockingbird Cafe, 110 S. Second Street.
7:30pm - Frida Be You and Me Look Alike contest begins at Smith & Lens Gallery, 106 S. Second Street
Identity Vintage & Vinyl
131 Main Street, Suite A
Bay St. Louis
Owner Suzi Walters has nearly 1000 albums for sale at Identity Vintage & Vinyl. If you are looking for a certain piece that isn’t in stock, she is happy to order it. Requests are generally in the shop within a week.
Walters adds new vinyl to her shop every Saturday morning. Each record is in remarkable condition, and all are professionally cleaned, re-sleeved and play tested. If you miss the joy of buying a record and taking it home to spin it on your turntable while absorbing every image on the cover, Identity Vintage & Vinyl is your store.
Walters also showcases her jewelry line, Avec Amour. Each piece is individually designed and crafted using charms, crystals and religious medals. No two pieces will ever be completely alike, as they are each made with found treasures.
Walter enjoys making custom pieces for clients with either their own found items, or with trinkets from her collection. “I hope that my jewelry brings hope, peace and harmony to the new owners.”
Walter is proud that everything found in Identity Vintage & Vinyl is "green," or comes from a fair trade business. “The items you find in my store speak to people, and when they speak to people they speak loudly."
“I am proud to be a small business in Bay St. Louis,” says Walters. “I cannot imagine being in a better place."
Identity Vintage & Vinyl is open Wednesday through Friday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Saturday 10:30 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday 12:15-4:30 p.m.
220 Main Street
Bay St. Louis, MS 39520
Gallery 220 is located just a few blocks from the beach in one of the few examples of Art Deco architecture in Old Town Bay St. Louis. But while it is filled with amazing artwork by award-winning artists from the local area, Gallery 220 will not give you a stereotypical art gallery experience when you walk through the doors.
Twenty-three local artists belong to this cooperative gallery and split up the work schedule. These are artists who feel passionate about their work, and who share their knowledge and enthusiasm while staffing the gallery.
The gallery features paintings, drawings, sculptures, jewelry, t-shirts, pottery, photography and more. Some artists even bring their works-in-progress with them so that between helping customers they can draw, paint, or sketch.
Everyone feels welcomed and at ease at Gallery 220. It is the type of place where art and real life meet, and where customers stay long after their purchases to relish in the energy and good vibes.
This Second Saturday Gallery 220 will be serving “Frida” food, so stop by this town anchor and have a snack while you shop or talk to artists about their work.
Gallery 220 is open seven days a week, Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday Noon-5pm.
Amy Kramer is a self-taught Bay artist known for her colorful and energetic underwater and floral abstracts presenting her love for water and the garden.
Since receiving her Bachelor’s degree from LSU, Kramer has taken numerous formal and informal lessons using a multitude of mediums, but is always drawn back to her acrylic blues and greens on large canvases.
You will find Amy working at Gallery 220 on Sunday. “I enjoy working at Gallery 220 and having the remarkable opportunity of conversing with magnificent people from all over the world,” she says.
“A few of my favorite things about living and working in Bay St. Louis are the gulf, oak trees, my friends, and of course, the wonderful people I've met.”
“I am a proud weekender of Bay St. Louis,” said Nancy Lowentritt. She has been part of the art scene here in Old Town Bay St Louis for the past eight years.
Lowentritt paints exclusively in acrylics, painting seascapes, crabs, boats, birds, houses, restaurants, and other sights of everyday life. She is always hoping to capture the culture of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A unique aspect of Lowentritt’s work is that she usually primes her canvases in red before starting a painting.
A lot of Lowentritt’s paintings are small, affordable pieces that locals and visitors alike can easily take home, although she paints large canvases as well.
“At Gallery 220, I have the opportunity to work on Sundays, meeting simply wonderful people from all over the world, some who come back year after year to add to their collections,” she says. Lowentritt’s paintings and note cards can also be seen at Bay Life, her other favorite place to shop.
1985: A Church Fair Becomes Crab Fest
- story by Lisa Monti and Tricia Donham McAlvain, photographs by Ellis Anderson
Looking for a way to amp up Our Lady of the Gulf’s annual church fair in 1985, parishioners came up with the idea of aligning their fundraiser with July 4th celebrations and making the blue crab its mascot. After all, no other local festival back then was tied to the prized crustacean.
2017 is the festival's 33rd year, the Fourth of July Crab Fest is a major community event and tourist destination. Thousands of people come to the OLG shaded grounds to devour delicious seafood specialties, dance to live music, enjoy swirling Carnival rides and take home jellies, yard signs and paintings sold by more than 100 arts and crafts vendors.
Church fairs were a big part of growing up here, and many volunteers are carrying on a family tradition. “All the local church families worked the fair,” said Metzler. “My mom worked the cake booth.”
The first few years of the festival, it was held on property that celebrity clarinetist, Pete Fountain owned (near the foot of the bridge where the Chapel Hill neighborhood is now). Pat Murphy remembers playing there with his wife Candy, guitarist John Bezou and drummer Jerry L’Enfant.
Metzler says the festival was moved to the church/school grounds because the shade from the live oaks gave some relief from the mid-summer heat, yet still allowed for breezes from the gulf.
This year’s Crab Fest will be the 20th year Metzler has served as chairperson. In 1997, Pam, who was Hancock County's circuit clerk at the time, was approached by Father Pete Mocker, who asked if she'd take on the enormous job of chairing the event. After consulting with her family, who promised to help, she took on the job, becoming the first woman to do so.
Now she's retired from the county, but not the Crab Fest. She and the other dedicated volunteers return year after year to keep the pieces and parts of this three day festival rocking along. It’s hard work, in the heat, but they enjoy it.
“Everybody always has a wonderful time. A lot of volunteers aren’t even church members, they’re just members of the community or members of other churches, other denominations,” Metzler said. “Because it’s so fun.”
(editor's note: these Shoofly Magazine photographs were taken before 2017 and a few of the folks below have passed away since then).
Laura Piazza Griffith (editor's update: Laura passed away in 2019) makes 600 pounds of crab stuffed potatoes. Others boil 7,000 crabs and 3,500 pounds of shrimp. Some fry the seafood and make the gumbo and other items.
Kevin Haas and Mike Gibbens have been boiling the crabs and shrimp since the beginning days of the festival. "Starting 15 years ago, we got it down to a science,” said Haas. “We boil the crabs and shrimp separately in big pots with baskets in water. Then we cool the crabs or shrimp in water with seasoning, in what we call "charge pots" and then they are ready to eat.”
The Monti family has been involved in the Crab Fest since before day one. “The Monti brothers, Bill and Joe, had the original idea for the Fourth of July fair and carnival,” said Metzler. “They said let’s do a crab festival, it’s the Gulf Coast and there was no one doing one at the time.”
The late Gene Monti (“The Sweetest Man in Town”), his wife Mary Alice and his sister Lydia Favre were long time volunteers. Gene was well known as the cotton candy man and he also handmade cast nets that were raffled off. The husband of Monti’s niece carries on the traditional of knitting crab nets that are raffled.
“It’s a great, great festival and so much fun. We laugh and we work and we’re tired, I truly love it,” Metzler said. “I tell people you can’t quit the Crab Fest, you have to die to get out,” Metzler jokes. “We’ll be 80 and still be out there boiling crabs.”
And for those who make it to closing, there’s even a fun tradition.
“We get the band to play the second line and the die-hard volunteers who have stayed to the end dance all around the pavilion waving napkins," says Metzler. "When we throw our napkins down that means Crab Fest is officially over for the year."
"Then, we go soak our feet in the [soft drink] cooler with the leftover ice," she says, laughing.
Rockin' at the Crab Fest
- by Karen Fineran
If you ask Bay St. Louis residents what they plan to do on Fourth of July weekend next month, most of them will include the Our Lady of the Gulf Crab Fest.
With the free event stretching through three days and nights, many people will stop by more than once to take the kids for cotton candy and carnival rides, meet up with friends over a beer, see their favorite bands, or just pick up a quick lunch or dinner.
This will be the 33rd year that Our Lady of the Gulf Church has hosted its Crab Fest on Independence Day weekend on the church’s South Beach Boulevard grounds, overlooking the coastline. Locals and tourists alike come each year to enjoy the live music, rides, raffles, arts and crafts booths, and of course the seafood — boiled crabs and shrimp, seafood gumbo, and crab-stuffed potatoes!
Talk of the Town
The live music lineup at the Crab Fest always tries to outdo the previous year. For 2017, the music will be nearly continuous throughout the entire three days and nights. That means no matter what time you venture out to the Crab Fest, you’ll be able to catch a good band!
The festival begins on Friday, June 30, at 11 a.m. The music kicks off with Hog Wild Production from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by the ever-popular Pat Murphy with his new band Sippiana Soul from 3–6 p.m. The five-piece tribute band Chee-Weez will finish the night from 8–11 p.m.
Pat Murphy reminisced about his long history with the OLG Crab Fest, having played at least 15 times on several of the fest’s stages. Pat remembered playing at the very first Crab Fest in 1985, with his wife Candy, guitarist John Bezou and drummer Jerry L’Enfant.
The Music Line-up
Friday June 30th:
11-2 Hog Wild Production
3-6 Pat Murphy & Sippiana Soul
8-11 Chee Weez
Saturday, July 1st:
3-6 Bucktown Allstars
7-11 Todd O'Neill Band
Sunday July 2nd:
11-1 Family Tradition Band w/Troy Ladner
2-6 Ryan Foret and Foret Tradition
7-10 Category 6
“I’ve always enjoyed Crab Fest because I run into people there that I don’t see very often,” says Murphy. “Also, I love where they’ve put the stage now, back under all the beautiful big live oaks!”
Pat predicts that the sound from the stage this year will be phenomenal, with Aaron Lee heading up sound and production.
The Chee-Weez have pulled in sizeable audiences at Crab Fest on Friday night every year for the last eight or nine years. Joey Mangiapane, Chee-Weez’s bass player, spoke about his band’s long relationship with OLG Crab Fest.
“When we first started playing the Crab Fest, it was a newer festival, and they didn’t have a stand-alone stage yet. We played under the crab-eating tent, right in front of the tables and chairs. After they got a big stage up the next year, I think that we were the first band to ever play on it.”
Mangiapane added that Crab Fest is one of the band’s all-time favorite festivals to play, because there is usually an enthusiastic crowd of six or seven thousand people there on Friday nights (and because the food there is so delicious).
The horn-powered Bucktown All-Stars have become legendary in Louisiana, performing their own mix of rock, soul, funk, R&B and New Orleans classics at outdoor festivals, nightclubs and special events across the Gulf South.
This summer, the award-winning All-Stars celebrate their 25th anniversary as a band. (They have taken one of Offbeat Magazine’s Best of the Beat Awards for nearly 10 years in a row, as well as several of Gambit Reader’s Choice Polls.)
The All-Stars have played their second-line funk and Motown soul at the Crab Fest at least five times over the last several years. Steve Alfonso, the band’s drummer, elaborated upon the Crab Fest.
“We love it. It’s one of the more top-notch festivals that we play — one of the reasons is that it’s always very well run by Pam [Metzler]. There’s just a great mixed crowd of locals and New Orleanians, it’s extremely family-oriented, and it’s in the most beautiful setting you could imagine, shaded by those big oak trees. Oh, and there’s also great food and boiled crabs. It doesn’t get much better than that!”
Ryan Foret is a nationally recorded country music artist with four CDs released since 1999. His band’s mix of country with a dash of zydeco, R&B and funk is in high demand along the entire Gulf Coast.
There you have it — three days and three nights of premier live music and dancing under the stately oaks! Come on down to the Crab Fest to pass your Fourth of July.
BSL's Got Talent
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson and Cynthia Mahner
The Arts, Hancock County will present the fourth annual ArtsAlive! March 18 with a jam-packed schedule from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and beyond) in Old Town Bay St. Louis.
The event builds on the creative momentum that kicked off over ten years ago as a studio tour of members of The Arts, Hancock County, a 501(c)3 organization.
The enthusiastic response back then, from both participants and the public surprised organizers and supporters of the local arts scene.
In the following years, that energy continued build and quickly turned ArtsAlive! into the arts festival that’s not to be missed, either by artists or those who appreciate art. And the appeal has drawn interest from across the region.
"Every year we are astounded by the outpouring of interesting and talented artists. We want the community to know them and their artistic processes, while fostering relationships between the people and businesses here," said Martha Whitney Butler, Arts President.
The Arts Alive Column
An ever-evolving event, the organizers are promising to continue "Celebrating Art, Engaging Communities, Enriching Lives."
The format of ArtsAlive! is tailored to Old Town, the heart of the well-known Bay St. Louis arts community that’s filled with more than 70 galleries, shops and restaurants. The beachfront downtown area is made for walking and there is convenient parking nearby in the municipal garage on Court Street. First-time visitors will quickly see why Bay St. Louis has landed on so many lists for visitors.
ArtsAlive! consists of showcases for artists and artisans, filmmakers and songwriters and contests with cash prizes for writers, singer-songwriters and amateur chefs.
Regional artists and artisans will be found throughout the historic downtown district at host locations, demonstrating and discussing their work as well as selling it.
Apply to the Artist Showcase or the Artisan Showcase on The Arts website.
Popular local musicians Rochelle Harper and Boz, who have played for audiences around the world, will be judging the contest, which is produced by the Mockingbird Cafe (110 South Second Street) in partnership with The Arts, Hancock County.
The public is invited to live performances by contest semi-finalists beginning at 3 p.m. Winners will be announced 15 minutes after the last finalist performs. The top three winners will take home cash prizes of $150, $75 and $50.
The topic will be revealed to entrants at 10 a.m. at Bay Books (131 Main St.) and they have until 1 p.m. to turn in their 400 word (or less) pieces. Writers will read their own entries aloud to an audience and be judged between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., when cash prizes will be awarded.
New this year is a short film category, featuring works by local filmmakers. The films will close out the evening.
Three chef judges will pick the top three entries of amateur chefs in a Serious Salsa Down South competition hosted by Serious Bread (131 Main St. Suite D) in partnership with The Arts, Hancock County!
Entries will be judged on taste as well as presentation and originality. After the judging, 50 members of the public selected on a first come, first serve basis will sample the entries and select one as the People's Choice winner.
The goal continues to be showcasing and promoting the best of the arts. With the support of ArtsAlive! sponsors and other partners, members of The Arts, Hancock County are fostering the next generation of artists and encouraging more interest in art through their activities.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon
- story by Lisa Monti
The clever invitation to the inaugural Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon in December - Soak up the Run - is a hard one to turn down for runners looking for a venue with the promise of sun, sand and scenery.
With the 26-mile Pass Christian to Biloxi beachfront as its setting and a weekend full of fun activities, the marathon is having no trouble signing up participants.
“Registration is on the path to blowing away our goal of 3,000 participants,” said Danny Bourgeois, the marathon’s marketing director.
Such enthusiasm for the marathon and its Coastal Running Fest weekend shows that this is sure to become a standout annual event.
While the routes for the half and full marathon run from Pass Christian to Biloxi in Harrison County, two fun pre-events take place in Hancock County on Friday. The Poker Run in Bay St. Louis is an untimed event that starts and ends at 6:30pm on the corner of Beach and Main Street. The Beer Mile starts at 7:30pm at the same location.
All three races end at MGM Park in Biloxi where runners will be welcomed by cheering crowds to a celebration complete with great Gulf seafood, delicious barbecue, cold beer and live music.
The Coast’s shore-hugging route is in some exclusive company when it comes to the scenery, Bourgeois said. “There are lots of runs along the coast but only Big Sur, Calif., and ours have so many miles of beach views.”
The Baton Rouge marathon has raised more than $500,000 for nonprofits, and its economic impact on the area is impressive. The out-of-town participants have had a $17 million impact over the five years the race has been run, Bourgeois said. “That’s not counting the locals, just those who travel to the race. We’re hoping to go down that same path,” he said of the upcoming marathon.
And speaking of paths, Bourgeois sketched out what the runners will experience during the Gulf Coast Marathon: “The wind at their back, sun in their face, on the right are rolling waves and ahead are miles of flat, fast and festive running.”
For information about the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon, click here.
Across The Bridge
At Home In The Bay
Beach To Bayou
BSL Council Updates
Casting My Net
Coast Lines Column
Friends Of The Animal Shelter
Growing Up Downtown
House And Garden
Legends And Legacies
Mother Of Pearl
Murphy's Musical Notes
Old Town Merchants
On The Shoofly
Shore Thing Fishing Report
Talk Of The Town
The Eyes Have It