PASCAGOULA -- For four decades, the Pascagoula Mardi Gras parade has provided family, fun and excitement for parade participants and spectators alike. This year, the parade's 40th anniversary, the parade continued the tradition with over 10,000 people watching along the parade route.
"It's a very special honor to be king over this event," said Michael Tashiro, who as king of the Krewe of Cosmo is also the king of the parade. "The parade is such a huge community event. This parade is a time-honored tradition and it's always fun."
"It's very, very fun," said Tashiro's queen, Karen Johnson, who has been part of the parade for the last 25 years. "I love meeting people. I get to see friends every year."
"It's an exciting family event," said Vanessa Gibson, director of Jackson County's Head Start program, who said she has attended for 18 years. "I can jump and dance and have fun in the street and nobody looks at me sideways."
"I like the spirit of the parade," said Carolyn Langley, who recently moved to the Coast from Alaska. "The throws bring out the kid in all of us."
Loree Lane, who has come to the parade for 30 years, said: "It's a great time for the city to get together."
Lane said the parade lets people to have fun in a family setting. "There are enough throws for everybody to get something."
Getting the throws was one of the enjoyable parts of the parade, Lane said. In addition to beads, candy and Moon Pies, several krewes threw stuffed animals and toys such as a plastic sword or two, Frisbees and pirate paddleball games.
"I'm the biggest kid out there," Lane said. "I whoop and holler and try to get riders to throw something to me."
The parade is sponsored by the Jackson County Carnival Association, a group of eight krewes. JCCA president B.J. McCreary said the parade's 40th march showed the cooperation among the krewes.
"All the krewes in Jackson County pitched in," he said.
Many see the parade as a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new people.
"Every year, I see people I haven't seen in a long time," Gibson said. "It's a family affair."
"I know a lot of people who ride in the floats," Lane said.