Editorials

Now that is how to throw a birthday party

Lindsay Dengler of Gulfport and her son, William, 1, play with a balloon at the Mississippi Bicentennial South celebration at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport on Saturday.
Lindsay Dengler of Gulfport and her son, William, 1, play with a balloon at the Mississippi Bicentennial South celebration at Centennial Plaza in Gulfport on Saturday. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

If there was anyone who doubted South Mississippi knows how to throw a party, they doubt no more.

We probably should apologize to the central and northern parts of the state for setting the bar so high for future legs of the year-long Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration, but we couldn’t help ourselves.

Heck, we even managed to have perfect weather for Bicentennial Celebration South at Centennial Plaza on Friday and Saturday.

And what a venue that turned out to be. South Mississippi leaders looked around at all the wonderful sites and picked the old Veterans Administration hospital property in Gulfport because they have long seen the potential of that 93-acre beachfront slice of paradise.

And the crowd, estimated to be about 25,000 over the two days, must have agreed. We didn’t see a single frown, nor hear a complaint as the event unfolded.

They met people from all over our state, devoured the food you’ll find only on the Coast and heard some of the best music the state has to offer.

Those who pulled this party together, then pulled it off, deserve our thanks. They made us look oh so good to our friends and neighbors to the north.

Quality Seafood, for example. Those folks had to feed the dignitaries and sponsors — and they did it without electricity or running water. And what a spread they put out for thousands.

Not only was the music superb, the sound was all but flawless and the show flowed from stage to stage with no time to get bored.

And like clockwork, the whole thing wrapped up with perfectly timed fireworks.

We’re still a little breathless.

In between, there were parades, children’s book characters come to life, Mississippi belles and an exhibit that brought the partiers up close and personal with the military men and women we know so well. The party also gave some of our restaurants a chance to showcase their food to some people who probably had never heard of them, let alone tasted their dishes.

The emergency personnel and the police officers kept the behind-the-scenes part of the party running smoothly. They handled parking and traffic well and made an environment safe enough for the little ones to explore.

We can’t wait to see where the rest of the state takes this once-in-most-people’s-lifetime party. And we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next chapter of this historic site in the heart of the Coast.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.

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