BILOXI -- A record 55 units, including New Orleans floats, entered the 32nd Krewe of Neptune Mardi Gras parade, which capped off a beautiful day filled with sunny skies and chilly temperatures.
"We made an emphasis on inviting marching bands from all over the state," said Gerald Everett, Krewe of Neptune president. "Eight marching bands are in the parade this year. I think the arts are an important part of an education."
Some people had camped out, some tailgated, and some just came to catch fun throws, such as the light-up beads the Krewe of Neptune were tossing.
"You can't ask for better weather," Everett said. "Last year, we had roughly 75,000 people line the streets, and we are expecting a bigger turnout this year."
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Established in 1981, the Krewe of Neptune's parade shut down for a few years after 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
The parade's grand marshal was former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael "Beer Man" Lewis who was also representing his Striding For Your Dreams Foundation.
"I have always told everyone that Who Dat Nation is more than just New Orleans," Lewis said. "They come from all over the Gulf South region."
The theme of the parade was American Icons and Brig. Gen. (retired) Rich Moss served as King Neptune the 32nd.
"It is a great honor to represent this Krewe," Moss said. "It is not as stressful as my work with the Hurricane Hunters, but I get to ride along and throw things for a charitable cause."
Queen Venus the 32nd, Taylor Pilger, thanked the city of Biloxi, adding, "Everything we do is for the people coming out to the parade."