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THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST Story and photos by Melissa Wolcott Martino and Al Martino

OK. So New Orleans may have the most famous Mardi Gras celebration, but Biloxi has the largest and most family-friendly one along the Gulf Coast. Polish up your beads and gather up your most garish outfit, for the Parade Of The Year is quickly approaching. On February 21, colorful floats will take to the streets with bead throwing and entertainment for thousands of spectators.

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ack in 1908 when the tradition began, there was one parade with 17 floats. Today that number has swelled to 23 parades with many floats along the coast. The festivities actually begin the day before with the elaborate celebration crowning King D’Iberville and his Queen Ixolib (in case you didn’t get the Queen’s odd name, it’s Biloxi spelled backward.) The King and Queen are chosen each year for their contribution to the community. The crowning event is quite a spectacle, with many Dukes and Duchesses in attendance in amazing colorful costumes beaded, sequined and gemmedout. You can see that no expense is spared in making them. Mardi Gras is but one of many events along the coast that brings in visitors. Throughout the year you can visit many museums, established attractions, and, of course, casinos galore. Continues on following pages.

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Accent On Tampa Bay #173, March 2012  

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