To the delight of many, longer days and warmer temperatures have arrived in South Mississippi, and locals are celebrating the promise of spring this week with an early St. Patrick's Day festival and traditional Southern fare.
Though the actual holiday isn't for another two weeks, the Irish American Society of Long Beach will celebrate St. Patrick's Day with its annual festival and parade from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on the Harper McCaughan Town Green. Come out for the carnival rides, music, vendors and more, but stay for the St. Patrick's Day Parade -- featuring state Rep. Richard Bennett as grand marshal and Whitney Sartin as the colleen -- on Jeff Davis Avenue at 2 p.m.
If competitive cooking and Gulf Coast oysters are more to your liking, don't miss the fourth annual Oyster Throwdown at the Knock Knock Lounge in Waveland from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The teams may be competing in a taste competition by preparing locally harvested oysters with secret recipes and unique styles, but the spectators will claim the day's prize as they sample diverse offerings while enjoying live music and a silent auction. Oysters are delicious by themselves, but the event's proceeds benefit Hope Haven Children's Services, which will make the meal even sweeter. Cost: $15 ages 13 and older, $6 ages 8-12.