Ocean Springs Night Parade will still Roll


Today, Ocean Springs Police Chief Mark Dunston said a miscommunication led people to believe the night Mardi Gras parade would be canceled. A press conference was held to clear up the rumors and law down some ground rules for safety.
Rumors surrounding the fate of the popular, Ocean Springs night parade came as a surprise to many Coast residents and carnival officials. Captain of the Ocean Springs Carnival Association Heather Eason said, “We were a little bit kind of taken aback by that. As far as the night parade is concerned, there is a couple of areas that they’ve had some problems with in the past, but for the most part this is a very, very, friendly, family friendly event.”
Concerns of safety for the public and for officers were topics of discussion at Tuesday’s alderman meeting in Ocean Springs. In a press conference Thursday, Chief Mark Dunston said the parade will roll. He laid out the guidelines for enhanced safety adding a heavier police presence focusing on some main areas where underage drinking and rowdiness are a concern. “We’re going to be proactive on it. We’re eliminating a lot of these hotspots and it’s going to be safe areas and not an area for people in the back of pickup trucks to be throwing beer bottles at people. It’s going to be a fun route,” said Chief Dunston.
Also they will be upping the barricade count to 600 next year for the February 24th parade with a little help from Heather Eason. “I’ve started selling these barricades for advertisements and then what we’re doing is we’re taking those and we’re donating them to the city. That way, we have more barricades and that way we can help with children out of the pathways of the floats and then the police officers can focus their energies on crowd control which is really what they need to do.”
Now that the entertainment district ordinance is in effect, all adult beverages from local restaurants and lounges will be marked with a sticker if anyone decides to get their drink to go and enjoy it on the parade route. Mayor Connie Moran said, “It says Ocean Springs Arts and Entertainment District so the police know that you legitimately purchased your beverage in a restaurant or lounge within the district which encompasses all of downtown, all the way out to Pine Drive down Government Street.”


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