Let the Shuck Dynasty begin

Everything’s a go for Saturday, with the Game Day Experience scheduled for the Vieux Marche throughout the afternoon and the first pitch later that evening in MGM Park,  the new home of the Biloxi Shuckers.

The free Game Day Experience, featuring your chance to meet the Shuckers team and coaches, begins at 12:45 and runs into the evening. The “ultimate tailgate party,”  as it’s billed, will feature food and drink, batting cages, pitching cages, free snowballs and popcorn and live entertainment.

You’ll find traffic limited or outright shutdown on Howard Avenue and Caillavet Street near the stadium. Those attending the downtown events are encoruaged to take the free Coast Transit park-and-ride service, offering continuous shuttle service between east Biloxi casinos and the downtown Biloxi Transit Center.  The service runs from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
See your guide to the Game Day Experience


Meanwhile, down at Point Cadet: A Blessed event

Perhaps overlooked amid the hoopla over MGM Park and the arrival of the Biloxi Shuckers is one of the city’s and state’s most-cherished of traditions:  the Biloxi Blessing of the Fleet and Shrimp Festival.

You’ll have a chance to whet your appetite with some of the best seafood dishes around in the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Great-American Seafood Cookoff this evening at 5 at the Slavonian Lodge. The cookoff is held in conjunction with a reception honoring past Blessing royalty.

This year, the Blessing’s Fais Do-Do makes a triumphant return to its pre-Katrina home – Point Cadet Plaza.

The Fais Do-Do, a French term loosely translated as street dance, takes place Saturday form 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Headline entertainment: the Chee-Wheez. Admission is $5 per person, children 12 and under, free.

The Blessing of the Fleet Mass takes place Saturday at 4 p.m. at St. Michael Catholic Church, and the coronation of the kind and queen takes place at 5:30 at the Fais Do-Do.

The centerpiece of the weekend, the actual Blessing of the Fleet, takes place Sunday at 2 p.m., in the Biloxi channel between the Beau Rivage and Golden Nugget.
Read more on the Blessing of the Fleet website


MGM Park will host American Star Field

When the Biloxi Shuckers take the field at MGM Park for the first time Saturday night, they’ll be playing on vodka: American Star vodka.

Overtime Sports and the city announced today a field naming rights deal in which the field at MGM Park will be known as “American Star Field,” sponsored by American Star Vodka.

The owner of the brand, Ascendant Spirits Inc., was named U.S. “2014 Spirits Producer of the Year” by Drink Me, a leading beverage trade publication. American Star was also named “Best Vodka of the Year 2014.”

The deal will mean roughly a million dollars to the city, through annual payments of $50,000 a year for 20 years. This year’s payment will be reduced, based on the number of home games missed.
Read the whole story


News and notes

City Desk podcast: Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols speaks about (what else?) MGM Park. To listen to the program, click here.

Weekend preview: OK, you’ve heard about the Game Day Experience, Shuckers opener, and the Blessing of the Fleet. So what else is going on? Check out the lineup by clicking here.

Public meetings: To see the lineup of public meetings in Biloxi and to see online agendas for meetings coming up next week, click here.