Shrimp Festival, Blessing headline this weekend

One of city’s most cherished traditions, the Biloxi Shrimp Festival and Blessing of the Fleet, takes place this weekend in East Biloxi.

The weekend-long celebration, which dates back to the Old Country, is highlighted by the Sunday afternoon blessing of a brightly decorated shrimping fleet to ask for God’s blessing for a safe and bountiful season. Several dozen shrimp, pleasure and commercial boats are expected to participate in the procession.

“This event is a Biloxi tradition that combines the historical, religious, industrious and festive aspects that all make up Biloxi,” said Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich.  “It marks the beginning of the shrimp fishing season and pays tribute to our strong and viable industry seafood industry.”

The event, which officially began Thursday with the Memorial of the Mass for Deceased Fishermen, will continue this evening at the Michael Parish Life Center, St. Michael Catholic Church 177 First St., with a reception for past kings and queens and the introduction of the 2016 King and Shrimp Queen contestants.

Saturday at the Point Cadet Plaza will be the daylong festival Fais-Do-Do, a French term loosely translated as street dance. The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., has a $5 gate fee for those 13 and older and discounts for military and seniors.  The fais-dodo will feature more than 70 arts and craft and food booths, a children’s area with a rock climbing wall, GyroSpace and train rides, and live entertainment throughout the day.

The Mass of the Blessing will be conducted Saturday at 4 p.m. at St. Michael Catholic Church followed by the coronation of King Frank Parker and announcement of the 2016 queen in a ceremony at the Fais-do-do.

On Sunday, the actual blessing of the fleet takes place in the Biloxi channel. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. with the dropping of a wreath in memory of deceased fishermen and seafood industry workers. Brightly decorated boats will be in a procession that will stretch from the Biloxi Lighthouse eastward to the Golden Nugget. The vessels will be blessed by the Rev. Greg Barras of St. Michael Catholic Church and eligible for the Participation and Best-Decorated Awards where the two recipients will receive $500.
See more about the fais do-do
See the overall weekend preview


MDOT to temporarily close I-110 exits next week

MDOT has announced that workers will close the I-110 off ramps at Bayview and Division Street for one night next week to allow the installation of new overhead signage.

The southbound exit at Bayview Avenue will be closed Wednesday from 7 p.m. to Thursday 6 a.m.

At Division Street, the southbound exit will be closed Thursday from 7 p.m. to Friday at 6 a.m., and once contractors have completed work on the southbound signage, they will close the northbound on-ramp at Division to install new signage there during the same timeframe.

MDOT workers say they expect the closures at each site to take less time than the 11 hours allotted.
See status of road work throughout Biloxi


Tree committee to hold initial session

Biloxi’s tree committee, a new city board that will advise city leaders on striking a balance between protecting trees and economic development, will hold its first session next week.

Committee members will have a training session Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at the city’s Community Development Department to review the city’s tree ordinance and discuss procedures.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich and the Biloxi City Council, in an ordinance passed earlier this year, have charged the tree committee with reviewing applications for permits to remove one or more trees that would ordinarily be protected under the city’s tree ordinance. The group, which is advisory, also will identify and suggest suitable sites for replanting of trees or additional landscaping to mitigate any tree removal. The committee also has the authority to review previous tree permits to ensure compliance.

Members of the committee, who serve three-year terms without pay, are Robin Galle Rodolfich, Ward 1; Tracy Wyman,  Ward 2; Matthew Dubaz, Ward 3; Mary Kinney, Ward 4; Carroll Campbell, Ward 5; James “Bernie” Marinovich, Ward 6; and Julie Beaucek, Ward 7.
See the tree ordinance amendments


News and notes

City Council meeting:  The Biloxi City Council meets Tuesday night at 6 at Biloxi City Hall. To see the council agenda and supporting documents, click here.

City Desk podcast: Hear about the pending utility corridor along front beach in this week’s City Desk podcast. Also in the program, taped Thursday: hurricane season now underway, are you prepared? To listen to the program, click here.