Earth Day is a time set aside every year to celebrate all of the natural wonders the planet offers. The Pascagoula River, one of the largest free-flowing river in the country, is one such wonder that the city of Pascagoula celebrated once again over the weekend.
Located in in Lighthouse Park for the first time, a total of three different events were held to celebrate the Pascagoula River over the weekend.
First, Paddlepalooza kicked off the weekend by getting everyone registered and signed-in for the next morning’s Pascagoula Run kayak race. Pascagoula Paradise Paddlers left for a twilight paddle parade at 7:30 that evening, with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College providing kayak rentals for those who wanted to join.
Bright and early Saturday morning, 75 paddlers met at Little River Marina in Moss Point to begin the Pascagoula Run. The 12.5 mile race down the Pascagoula River attracted visitors from near and far, with the second place winner even coming all the way from Memphis.
“The 12.5 mile ‘Pascagoula Run – Paddle Battle’ hosted by the City of Pascagoula was quite well organized, had numerous safety boats and even provided bailout locations for paddlers who may have encountered physical or equipment problems along the way,” said participant Wayne Berry. “The laser engraved Cedar plaques were tastefully executed and unique. The shuttle system was comfortable and expeditious. Kristi Ducote and the Parks and Recreation Department staff seemed to have covered every necessary detail to make the race a smooth operation including starting the race exactly on time. I expect participation for 2018 to exceed 100.”
As racers crossed under the Highway 90 bridge and through the finish line, vendors and entertainers were setting up for the 4th Annual Free Flowin’ on the Riverfront festival, growing larger every year it’s held.
Sponsored in part by Chevron since its first year, the festival is all about celebrating the beauty of the Pascagoula River. Visitors were able to enjoy free live music, a showing of vintage cars, crafts from local businesses and some great local food to top it all off, all under a bright Mississippi spring sun.
Music to elevate the atmosphere was provided by N2 Blue Band, Magnolia Bayou, Jake Thibodeaux, and Honey Island Swamp Band.
Booths for local vendors featured items like clothing items, handmade art pieces and crafts to raise funds for local charities. A children’s area, sponsored by Hancock Bank, gave even the youngest of visitors something to enjoy. Food vendors offered treats from usual festival fair like hamburgers and hotdogs, to lemonade squeezed right before your eyes and even some local barbecue. The booths were a representation of of the wonderful things Jackson County has to offer, all together in one place to celebrate the beauty of the Pascagoula River.
The Earth Day festivities ended with a spectacular fireworks show Saturday night for all who managed to make it through the day.