Mardi Gras attracts as many as 85,000 to downtown Biloxi

Clear skies and inviting temperatures helped attract a huge Fat Tuesday throng to downtown Biloxi today for the annual Gulf Coast Carnival Association Mardi Gras parade.

Biloxi Police estimate that as many as 85,000 spectators turned out for the parade, which began its 2.8-mile route at 1 p.m. The last of more than 120 units passed City Hall around 2:30 p.m.

“The crowds were significantly larger than last year,” said Police Chief Bruce Dunagan, who surveyed crowd and traffic patterns from a helicopter high above the downtown area. “I attribute a good deal of that to the weather. It was great weather, and it’s about 4 o’clock right now and we haven’t had any major incidents up to this point.”

Mayor A.J. Holloway, who delivered a toast to King D’Iberville and Queen Ixolib as the royalty passed City Hall, said he was pleased with the turnout.

“Biloxi is known for a great family-oriented Mardi Gras,” Holloway said, “and I congratulate Gulf Coast Carnival and everyone who had a hand in such a great presentation.”

To see more than 200 photographs from before and during the parade, as taken from City Hall, click here.