As many as a thousand people will be in the Shrimp Bowl parade that rolls through downtown Biloxi Friday evening at 6.
Organizer Susan Hunt said a total of 29 units will be in the procession, including the Keesler Air Force Base parade of flags, the Biloxi High School Air Force Junior ROTC, football players, dance teams and cheerleaders from Biloxi Public Schools, the Biloxi High School band, local dignitaries, and the 2012 inductees from the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame.
The event will help usher in a big sports weekend in Biloxi, which will include a Shrimp Bowl doubleheader (Biloxi vs. Picayune and Gulfport vs. Pascagoula) on Saturday at the Biloxi High School campus, the dedication of the A.J. Holloway Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon, and the induction of the 2012 class of the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday at the Biloxi Civic Center.
"The parade is going to be something really special," said Hunt, whose family was one of the original organizers of Mardi Gras parades in Biloxi. "The parade is going to lead to an old-fashioned pep rally on the Town Green, where we'll introduce the players, have the band and cheerleaders perform, and just have a great time."
Shrimp Bowl queens also will be part of the parade and pep rally, Hunt said. "We'll have past Shrimp Bowl queens in the bleachers across from City Hall, and, of course, Shrimp Queen Emily Fountain and her two maids -- Mary Ashley Garteiser and Courtney Ballew – will be in the parade and at the pep rally.
"We’re hoping everyone will come out and be part of this event."
The parade will begin on Howard Avenue at the I-110 overpass, roll east on Howard, around MLK Boulevard, and south on Lameuse Street to the Town Green.
Big weekend lineup: To see a lineup of the events being held in conjunction with this year's Shrimp Bowl, click here.