This Mardi Gras treat is for sale at the Bicentennial – in a mini version

Mississippi’s 200th birthday celebration officially got going Friday morning at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport. The two-day event concludes Saturday with a free ticketed concert by The Band Perry.

And though Friday was filled with appearances from elected officials such as Gov. Phil Bryant and Sen. Roger Wicker, the true “rock star” of the day was the presence of a well-known bakery from Picayune.

Paul’s Pastry Shop was one of several food vendors on the festival lawn that included Salute and Pop Brothers of Gulfport.

“We are selling mini versions of our king cakes,” said Sherri Paul Thigpen, whose family started the bakery in 1970. “We have them in praline cream cheese, strawberry cream cheese and blueberry cream cheese.”

Thigpen said her king cakes have become so popular the pastry shop sells them throughout the year.

“We introduced a line of savory king cakes this year — flavors like jambalaya and muffuletta — and we are still selling those along with some of our most popular flavors,” she said. “We’re decorating them in spring colors right now.”

Although Thigpen said the Bicentennial was the first time they took the mini-king cakes on the road, she knows her busiest season will always be Mardi Gras.

“We had a great Mardi Gras this year,” she said. “We were exhausted, but it’s a blessing.”

Here’s what else happened Friday:

▪  Bryant, Wicker and other dignitaries have made their way down to Centennial Plaza.

▪  Food vendors include Serious Bread from Bay. St. Louis and Salute in Gulfport. Paul’s Pastry of Picayune is selling mini-king cakes.

▪  The U.S. Postal Services unveiled the new Mississippi bicentennial stamp.

▪  About 1,000 area fourth-graders are on the grounds to see some of the many military trucks and tanks on display, as well as exhibits from other businesses and agencies.

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