Smokin’ the Sound highlights weekend fare

Hundreds of spectators will be watching dozens of lightning-fast boats racing along the Biloxi waterfront this weekend for the 2013 edition of Smokin’ the Sound.

Smokin’ will be the highlight of the weekend, but you’ll also find the crawfish festival at the Coast Coliseum, Penn & Teller at the Beau Rivage, the Oak Ridge Boys at IP, a Donton Abbey Tribute Dinner at the Redding House, and a sold-out Jewel show at the Hard Rock, where you can also find the free exhibit, the Jewels of Hard Rock through Sunday.

In terms of free entertainment, however, it’s Smokin’ the Sound. The offshore powerboat racing will kick-off the 2013 Super Boat International racing season with the fastest boats in the world in the Mississippi Sound. The colorful, exciting boats will race in eight classes with some reaching speeds nearing 200 mph.

You can view Smokin’ the Sound for free along the beachfront from Oak Street to west of the Biloxi Lighthouse, or you can purchase access to premium and VIP areas: a $10 wristband allows daily access to such areas as the Race Village on U.S. 90 west of the Grand, and to viewing spots at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor and atop casino parking garages. A $25 wristband will allow access to the Biloxi Schooner Pier and areas south of the Hard Rock casino.

The second weekend of the crawfish festival — $15 admission, $5 for children 6 to 12 – continues through Sunday. Festivalgoers can pay-one-price — $20 – for the myriad rides.

For details on Smokin’, the crawfish festival, the weekend concerts and more, click here.

Point Cadet fishing bridge opening sometime next week

The Point Cadet fishing bridge, actually a 4,700-foot long concrete pier next to the Palace Casino Resort, should be officially opening sometime next week, Mayor A.J. Holloway said.

“I know we’ve been getting two or three calls a day about this, so people are ready for it,” Holloway said, “but the contractor is working out a few issues with the electrical system. Once that’s worked out, they’ll turn it over to the city, and we’ll open it up. We expect that to be sometime in the next several days.”

The new fishing pier, which replaces a popular fishing spot that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, has faced several delays during its construction. Weather has been the biggest factor.

The $9 million federal-funded project was originally scheduled to open after the first of the year.

The new structure will be nearly 4,700 feet long, which is about 200 feet shorter than the Katrina-destroyed bridge, but it will be wider and offer overhead lights that will illuminate the pier itself and adjoining waters.

The pier features two 11-foot vehicle lanes bordered by two five-foot, ADA-accessible sidewalks, and vehicle turnarounds at the halfway point and at the end of the bridge.

News and notes

City Desk: Chief Administrative Officer David Nichols helps recap the events du jour in this week’s webcast. To listen to the program, click here.

The May outlook: The preservation in May series, Finally Friday, a drive-in movie on the Town Green, and a fish fry at the fire museum are among the events on tap for May. For a sneak peek at the community calendar for May, click here.

Bicycle Month: Biloxi will be calling attention to Bicycle Month with an informative gathering in the Walmart Super Center on May 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Among the attractions: a bicycle obstacle course, bike repair information and a chance to register your bike with the Biloxi Police Department. To print a flyer about the event, click here.

Traffic update: To see the latest on road work in and around the city, click here.