The food choices on the campus of the Coast Coliseum and Convention Center were plentiful Saturday, from roasted corn and hamburgers to chicken wings and hot dogs. There was also plenty of fried seafood, including shrimp, catfish, flounder and tilapia, mostly from vendors from Atlanta who were hoping to cash in on what has been deemed one of the major tourist events on the Gulf Coast. And with organizers and hotel operators claiming the 2017 black spring break the largest yet, vendors said there’s plenty of money to be made.
Although there are many food items from which to choose, only two were being sold with recognizable name tags — the Olivia Pope platter and the Obama Special, a meal said to be fit for a former president.
“The Olivia Pope platter gives you two meat choices — fish, chicken or shrimp,” said Tailor Shelton of Atlanta, “and the Pres. Obama Special is plate of everything we have. Pres. Obama has never ordered it, but we hope he will one day.”
Shelton was one of several new vendors at the 2017 festival. She’s also one of the Atlanta vendors selling seafood on the midway Saturday.
All the way from Atlanta
Christopher Bell of the California Fish Market of Atlanta said they were moving plenty of their signature item Saturday — fried flounder.
“We have never been here before, but we heard this was the event to be at and that today is the day,” Bell said. “We arrived on Thursday and we are going back on Monday. We’ve been staying at the Beau Rivage and we love it.”
Bell said not only had he not attended the festival but this was also his first time on the Coast.
“I love it here,” he said as people were lining up on the sidewalk along Beach Boulevard to buy his product. “I want to come back on vacation.”
Next door to Bell’s booth was another Atlanta fishmonger — Joe Dowell, who was selling fried tilapia and white bread at his Joe’s Gourmet booth.
“We have never been to this festival before, but we are here promoting our product — Joe’s Gourmet Fish Fry,” he said. “So far, things have been going well for us in Biloxi.”
One of the new items for the spring break weekend was a Friday-night concert at MGM Park. The concert, Spring Break Explosion, featured Lil Uzi Vert as its headliner after Kodak Black backed out. MGM officials tell the Sun Herald about 300 people attended the show.
A Saturday-night concert at the Coliseum featuring Jeezy and Migos was sold out. An after-party hosted by Yeezy was added after the Saturday concert.