Welcome to Spring Break, have a blast in Mississippi

 Coast police are ready to deal with traffic jams this weekend.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD/FILE Coast police are ready to deal with traffic jams this weekend. SUN HERALD

We've learned a lot since the spring of 2000.

That's the year a cast of thousands came to the Coast for the first Black Spring Break. We were less than prepared, and U.S. 90 was chaotic to put it mildly.

Spring Break returns Friday to the Mississippi beaches. We welcome the thousands of young people expected for Biloxi Black Beach Weekend 2016. We hope you have a blast. Have fun and stay safe.

This year's edition arrives at a better Coast. One that is more prepared and has more to do spread out over a larger swath of the beachfront highway.

Police in Biloxi and Gulfport, ground zero for the festivities, have been planning for weeks. They have a solid plan for dealing with heavy traffic on U.S. 90 and around the Coast Coliseum, the center of the Beach Weekend universe, which will have a twerk fest Friday, a day party and car and bike show Saturday and a barbecue Sunday. The Coliseum will offer food, restrooms and hassle-free parking all weekend.

The Shuckers will be in town all weekend, too. A seven-game homestand at MGM Park started Thursday. In Gulfport, the Yacht and Boat Show will bring more than 700 vessels to the harbor.

Nearly every hotel room on the Coast is booked. If you are out to have a good time, then you've found the right place this weekend.

But if crowds and traffic aren't your thing, there are stretches of beaches to the west that should offer a respite. And there are plenty of restaurants, clubs and other activities that will be nowhere near that stretch of U.S. 90 between U.S. 49 and downtown Biloxi that is expected to be the most crowded. And there is always the small-town atmosphere of Ocean Springs, Bay St. Louis, the Pass and Long Beach.

If you're headed into the fray, though, as you are headed out the door, don't forget to bring your patience.

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