Entertainment

Gautier Mullet & Music Festival celebrates 25 years

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDAustin Busby of Gautier winds up for his throw in the mullet toss at a past Gautier Mullet Festival. This year's event will be Saturday and Sunday.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDAustin Busby of Gautier winds up for his throw in the mullet toss at a past Gautier Mullet Festival. This year's event will be Saturday and Sunday. SUN HERALD

There are big things in store for the Gautier Mullet and Music Festival in Gautier as it celebrates its 25th year Saturday and Sunday.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Ronnie McDowell will perform a concert of his pop and country originals along with tributes to Elvis Presley.

Following the show will be an approximately 20-minute fireworks show at 9 p.m. It is part of a celebration of children and will include free popcorn and a movie at dusk, play zones, an art contest and more.

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Event chair Susan Parol said the open-air festival, set up immediately northwest of the former Singing River Mall property has become a cherished event for the Coast.

"The Gautier Mullet and Music Fest is all about celebrating Gautier as 'Nature's Playground,' and as a tribute to the best the Gulf Coast region has to offer," Parol said. "To mark our 25th anniversary, we've pulled out all the stops -- from Ronnie McDowell's concert to a full fireworks display by Artisan Pyrotechnics -- it's going to be a great weekend."

This year marks the return of the Mullet Cook-Off, a cooking competition that pits 18 area businesses against each other to create the best mullet dish.

The namesake event of the festival, mullet tossing, takes place throughout both days and is open to all ages. Organizers go through about 200 pounds of mullet for tossing and awards are presented for distance.

Lynette Meyers, advertising chair, said the mullet toss is a challenging contest that's fun to watch.

"It's free this year, and it's a lot of fun; and funny to watch the children grab that fish and chuck it. It cracks me up, and to watch the big guys come out and compete," she said.

The two-day music lineup will again have two stages. The main stage will showcase Kristian Cowart, Blondefire, Mirage, Mississippi Songwriters, State of Mind, Amanda Jones, Wright of Way and McDowell.

The second stage will host Deuces Wild, Studio of Dance, Triage, the Madi Cooper Band, Chuck Naquin, Lynn Rouse, Lunatype, a songwriters' showcase, the Panama Sin Srontara Dancers, Carl Edwards and the Gator Out Loud Show Choir.

There will be a showing of classic cars and trucks Saturday with an awards presentation at 3 p.m. On Sunday, the show will feature motorcycles and exotic cars -- pimped-out rides and high-end automobiles that stand out from the norm.

As always, the festival will have children's games and events, including bounce houses and face painting. The ever-popular petting zoo will return and beer tents will be on site. There will be art, crafts, information and food booths, and the Gautier Men's Club will serve fried mullet plates. Also on hand, Pascagoula native Willie Dees will sign copies of his award-winning 2015 festival poster.

Admission is free. Hours are Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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