Gulf Coast tunes up for part two of bicentennial party

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GULFPORT — When the Mississippi Gulf Coast throws a party, expect a part two.

The Bicentennial Celebration South kicked off Friday morning at Centennial Plaza on Beach Boulevard. The first day was dedicated to Mississippi culture over the past 200 years, with booths devoted to food and historical exhibits. And the U.S. Postal Service unveiled the Mississippi Statehood commemorative stamp.

Blues musician Jimmy “Duck” Holmes gets the party started Saturday on Centennial Plaza with a 30 minute musical set.

More entertainment throughout the day comes from comedian Gary Sturdivant, the William Carey Jazz Band, the U.S. Navy Southeast Brass Band and more.

These performances lead up to the Governor’s Concert, which is expected to draw 20,000 people to the plaza grounds. Gov. Phil Bryant will take the stage at 5 p.m. No, he won’t be singing. But he will  introduce some big names in Mississippi music: Jaimoe Jasssz Band, Paul Thorn and The Band Perry.

For a schedule of Saturday’s events visit ms200south.org. Here’s a flavor a what happened on Friday:

A salute to Mississippi’s coastal cities

For those who had never before been to Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Picayune or Biloxi, one exhibit on the plaza gave a 20 minute tour.

“We wanted to make sure we were a part of this,” said Bill Raymond, historical administrator for the city of Biloxi. “We wanted to show off what Biloxi has to offer because we knew we had visitors coming from all over the place for this celebration.”

Bill Raymond, historical administrator for the city of Biloxi, greets a festival-goer at the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration in Centennial Plaza.

 

A stamp for the state

The U.S. Postal Service debuted a Forever stamp at a first-day-of-issue ceremony on the main stage in Centennial Plaza commemorating the 200th anniversary of Mississippi’s statehood.

The Mississippi Statehood Commemorative Forever stamp is the latest addition to the Postal Service’s Statehood series. It features a close-up of the hands of Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, a blues musician from Bentonia.

• “The music, the mystery, the heart and soul of Mississippi.”

A salute to Mississippi’s military

Hundreds of Mississippi’s military men and women were paid tribute during Friday’s Military Night in Centennial Plaza.

A World War I presentation from Lynn Meadows Discovery Center was followed by a Coast Big Band concert, which featured covers of hit songs such as Michael Bublé’s Haven’t Met You Yet, Kool & The Gang’s Celebration and Billy Paul’s Me and Mrs. Jones.