Conference USA gets rocking tonight, Saturday

The Conference USA baseball tournament shifts into high gear this evening and into the weekend, with Southern Miss facing Texas-San Antonio tonight in a do-or-die rematch for both teams and a huge tailgate party planned for throughout the day Saturday at MGM Park’s south entrance.

A crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 is expected for this evening’s Southern Miss game, which begins at 6:30. Tickets, at $14.50, are available for all seats, regardless of location, which means, according to tournament organizers, those buying tickets now, hours before the game, have a chance to buy premium seats at the same price.

For Southern Miss, a lot is on the line as the Eagles return to the field tonight, including the possibility of winning the conference championship. Additionally, the entire complexion of the postseason for USM takes on new meaning. Continuing to the conference championship game should secure the Golden Eagles a spot as a NCAA Regional tournament host. But a march to the C-USA title could also mean a higher seeding in the postseason and the possibility of hosting a Super Regional.
See the updated tournament bracket
See today’s schedule, video replays, box scores and more


Tailgate party set for Saturday outside MGM Park

A Conference USA tailgate party will be staged Saturday from 11 a.m. until sundown at the park’s southern entrance. Local singer-songwriter Amanda Jones will play from noon until 3 p.m., with Jimmy Buffet tribute artist playing from 4 p.m. until sundown.

Jambalaya, fried catfish, hamburgers and hot dogs will be for sale.

Incidentally, a one-block section of Caillavet Street, between U.S. 90 and Jackson Street, will be closed Saturday to accommodate the tailgate party.
See a flyer about the tailgate party
Hear your 30-second invitation


And the conference so far?

“I saw something last night after the game that I thought was great,” said tournament organizer Tim Bennett, who helped lure the tournament to Biloxi and whose Overtime Sports manages MGM Park. “I saw no less than a hundred people wearing University of Texas at San Antonio shirts walking across U.S. 90 into the Beau Rivage.

“There are three huge markets in Conference USA: San Antonio, Miami and Charlotte. And to see those people from San Antonio here, a huge market, you have to know that they are going to go back to San Antonio and tell everyone about the great experience they had in Biloxi.

“That’s our goal with the event, to showcase the city and what we have to offer, and, of course, to put on a first class tournament with competitive baseball.”


Be a part of a Memorial Day tradition at Biloxi National Cemetery

Thousands of volunteers – individuals, veterans, families, young and old – will show up at the Biloxi National Cemetery Saturday morning to place small U.S. flags on the graves of those buried in the cemetery.

This annual event is expected to begin around 8 a.m. but volunteers are asked to arrive early. And know this: The flag placement will be completed in less than a half hour. 

Veterans Administration officials say traffic gets heavy around the Pass Road entrance each year before this event so volunteers are asked to arrive between 7 and 7:30 in the morning.

Volunteers are asked to park in the VA medical center parking lot and will be briefed prior to placing the more than 23,000 flags.

A Memorial Day ceremony is set for Monday at 9 a.m. at the flagpole on the Biloxi National Cemetery property, which is at 400 Veterans Ave. The ceremony will include an honor guard presenting the colors and a lineup of speakers.

While it normally takes about 30 minutes to place the 23,000 flags, collecting the banners is not as quick. Volunteers are encouraged to assist with picking up the flags on Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.

City Desk encore: You can hear firsthand information about the Biloxi National Cemetery, its past and future, from Director Celethia Reed, who appeared last month on the City Desk podcast. To listen to the program, click here

Details: For more information about the Memorial Day events, contact the Biloxi National Cemetery at 288-388-6668.


And finally: Your guide to the Memorial Day weekend

Of course, Conference USA baseball is the big news, but there’s so much more. Here’s a primer:

The City of Biloxi Parks & Recreation Department will hold its annual School’s Out Pool Party for ages 5 to 12 tonight from 6 to 8 at the Biloxi Natatorium, 1384 Father Ryan Ave. 

The free pool party will include water games, refreshments and music by a local D.J.  Lifeguards will be on site and all children under the age of 10 who cannot swim must be accompanied by an adult.

The annual Splash into Summer Family Fun Day, hosted by the City of Biloxi Parks & Recreation Department, will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday at the open fields across from the playground in Hiller Park, 377 Hiller Drive.

Activities for the free fun day include waterslides, bounce houses, water balloon games, prizes and concessions.  

The Biloxi Fire Department and the West End Hose Co. No. 3 Fire Museum will host the annual Jump into Summer Festival Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Biloxi Town Green, 710 Beach Blvd.

The festival will include a collection of antique and present day fire trucks as well as games, a kid’s firefighter challenge obstacle course, demonstrations, carnival rides, vendors and more.

There will be a $3 gate fee, which allows all-day access to the waterslides and bounce house. Carnival ride tickets will be available for purchase during the event.

Elsewhere this weekend: The West End Howard Avenue Merchants will host a Merchant City Festival Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. along the west end of Howard Avenue, “Amadeus” will be performed at the Biloxi Little Theater, Huey Lewis and The News will be at the Beau Rivage, Skid Row with special guest KIX at the Hard Rock and Vanessa Williams will be at the IP Casino.  The 35th Annual Mississippi Memorial Day Blowout takes place throughout the weekend in Gulfport at the dragway and Conference USA wraps up at MGM Park.
See the pool party flyer
See the family fun day flyer
See the fire summer festival flyer
See the Howard Avenue festival flyer
See more about Conference USA
See a complete line up of weekend events


News and notes

Memorial Day: Non-emergency municipal offices in Biloxi will be closed Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

City Council: The Biloxi City Council meets Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.  To review the agenda and supporting documents, click here.