Santa, Boat Parade and More at Moss Point Christmas by the River

1130_bilo_moss-Point-baots0 Santa, Boat Parade and More at Moss Point Christmas by the River

Moss Point will welcome in the holiday season with Christmas by the River from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2.

The annual event kicks off with Breakfast with Santa provided by Waffle House at 10 a.m. The breakfast is free for children and $5 per adult and includes a free photo with Santa.

Christmas by the River Organizer Becky Jolly Wood said she expects there to be about 300 children at the breakfast and that it’s a great way to start the day-long celebration.

“We try to make it special, we really do,” Jolly Wood said. “It’s something fun for the children.”

At 3 p.m., a land parade will begin at the Southgate Shopping Center. Line up will be at 1:30 p.m. Jolly Wood said it’s an event anyone can be part of – they can decorate their vehicles and join in the line. In addition, Moss Point native Tony Sipp, a Major League Baseball World Series Champion, will be the land parade’s grand marshal. 

Throughout the day, live music will be playing and participants can walk through vendors selling food, drinks and other items. 

“You’ll see people walking around and talking to everyone,” Jolly Wood said. “You can see everyone in the community.”

Additional activities will happen in the evening, starting with the tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at the Pallet Mill. From there, one of the main attractions, the lighted boat parade, will start at 6:15 p.m. at the riverfront. 

Jolly Wood said that boat parade participants will be judged, and that the only rule is that they are not allowed to include a live Santa – the last boat in the parade will be reserved for him. There will be three children judges and four or five adult judges, including Tony Sipp, to determine the winners who will receive trophies and gift cards.

This year, there will be a special trophy in the honor of Moss Point resident, business owner and community supporter Wendy McKinney, who passed away earlier this year.

“We are all still grieving,” Jolly Wood said. “She was someone who, if you needed anything, all you needed to do was tell her. We wanted to do something special to remember her.”

After the winners are awarded, Santa will pass out candy and other small gifts for the children. It’s another chance for families to get a free photo of their children with Santa. During this time, the final selection of names chosen to be included in the Moss Point Walk of Fame will also be announced.

To finish out the night, a fireworks show will follow the boat parade.

Jolly Wood said that when it comes down to it, she hopes the event is fun for all families, as they work hard to make it special – especially for the children.

“There’s not one particularly special part of the day,” she said. “I think it’s just about seeing the happiness on all of the children’s faces.”

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Audubon Center to Showcase Moss Point Plein Air Festival Artwork

15027388_1073994719385409_5626742598882010696_n Audubon Center to Showcase Moss Point Plein Air Festival Artwork

In early November, artists joined together to paint outside at the Annual Moss Point Plein Air Festival sponsored by the Pascagoula River Audubon Center. 

Don Smith, a retired art teacher who volunteers to run the festival, said the event is a local version of larger, worldwide plein air competitions and brings art to Moss Point.

“We wanted to find ways to bring art to Moss Point and show how beautiful it is here,” Smith said. “Not only for the artists, but for non-artists, too.”

An annual event started in 2015, Smith said a steady flow of both professional and up-and-coming artists have participated in the event each year. The competition gives artists the opportunity to find anywhere in the area to paint outside within a certain time limit on the day of the event.

On Thursday, Nov. 30, the Audubon Center will begin to showcase about 20 paintings created at the 2017 Plein Air Art Festival with an opening reception. As a juried art show, a judge selected certain pieces to be on display. The opening reception, set from 6 to 8 p.m., will also name the first, second and third place winners of the competition.

The reception is free and open to the public and will offer refreshments. Smith said it’s also an opportunity for people to check out the Audubon Center if they’ve never been.

“The event lets people visit the Center during nighttime, which is a nice change of scenery,” Smith said. “Attendees can also meet the artists of the work on display.”

Artwork selected for the gallery will be available to view through February 10.

In the long term, Smith said he hopes to work on expanding the festival in a number of ways, including partnering with local boat tours to take participating artists on the water and also seeing the art gallery travel to other Audubon centers. In addition, he said he hopes to see the festival impact more than just the art scene.

“We hope there’s some compounded interest there,” Smith said. “Between the artists, those who live in the area, even impacting nature tourism in the area and along the Mississippi Coast.”

For more information call 228-475-7887. 

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Moss Point Advances in $2 Million National STEM Contest

DSC05913-2 Moss Point Advances in $2 Million National STEM Contest

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Out of nearly 3,000 applications for the 2017 – 2018 contest, the Moss Point Career & Technical Education (CTE) center, located in Moss Point, MS., was named one of the nation’s 255 state finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, a program that encourages students to solve real-world issues in their community using classroom skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Mr. Billy Carroll’s Robotics Engineering program and Mr. Ignacio Lopez-Morales’s Aquaculture program were chosen based on their joint proposal to use STEM skills to address water pollution. To tackle this project, their students will create a bio-filter to mitigate the pollutants flowing into the bayou.  

“As a director, my job is to find innovative programs and think towards the future of where these industries are heading and try to bring that here to the CTE center to prepare our kids for the jobs they’ll have tomorrow”, says Career & Technical Education Director, Dr. Durand Payton. 

As one of five state finalists in Mississippi, the Moss Point CTE will now have the opportunity to advance in the competition for classroom technology prizes.  Dr. Durand Payton, Mr. Carroll & Mr. Lopez are currently working on an Activity Plan outlining how their students will execute this project. The second phase of the project will entail the team working and finalizing plans on how the project will benefit the community and its local water sources. If they are named the Mississippi State Winner in December, the Moss Point Career & Technical Education center will receive a $25,000 Samsung technology package. The 10 national finalists will attend a pitch event for the winner announcement in early April. 

Dr. Payton states if they win they will re-invest the money back into the programs in hopes that it will bring attention and expose the CTE center and its students. “A lot of people are not aware of the CTE center and all we do”, says Dr. Payton. “Winning this would give us an opportunity to showcase the students at Moss Point’s CTE center and highlight all of what they can and will do”, says Dr. Payton. 

For more information about about this project, please contact Dr. Durand Payton at  

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Jackson County to Honor Local Veterans

2017-Veterans-Day-Program-Moss-Point_525fbc29-5056-a36a-065e4f50d7444e4a-1 Jackson County to Honor Local Veterans

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MOSS POINT, Miss. —  The city of Moss Point will honor the county’s veterans at the 17th annual Jackson County Veterans Day Program on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, at the Moss Point Veterans Memorial Monument. 

Linda Johnson at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce said the event brings in a number of local groups and organizations, including Moss Point school groups, the Moss Point Fire Department, local veterans support organizations and more. She added that the theme for this year’s event is “Freedom is Not Free.”

“We’ve been doing this event for a long time,” Johnson said. “The community really gets involved to put together a great program. We believe it’s important to honor our veterans on November 11 every year.”

The program will begin promptly at 11 a.m. with a welcome by the Mistress of Ceremony, Carla Todd Voda, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

After the welcome, there will be the Presentation of Colors, National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, invocation, Armed Forces songs and Prisoner Of War/Missing In Action ceremony.

There will then be a Presentation of the Wreath for the Fallen in memory of the following fallen soldiers: Major Michael Green, United States Army; Master Sergeant Scott E. Pruitt, United States Marine Corps; Master Sergeant Coater DeBose, United States Army; Sergeant First Class Sean M. Cooley, United States Army; and Sergeant Terrance D. Lee, Sr., United States Army. 

Finally, Capt. Torrey M. Garrison will deliver the keynote speech, followed by military gun salute and taps. 

Johnson said the program is free and open to the public, and all are invited to join for free food and displays on the lawn next to the monument following the program.  

“We hope to have a great crowd this year and look forward to a nice day,” Johnson said. “We encourage all community members to come out and help us honor Jackson County’s veterans past and present – because freedom is not free.”

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Moss Point Celebrates Being Named “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown”

blue-crossjpg-b158cacb15b83317 Moss Point Celebrates Being Named "Mississippi's Healthiest Hometown"

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The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation named the City of Moss Point “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown” and presented the City with a $50,000 grant award during a celebration held Friday, October 20 at the Riverfront Community Center. The celebration included a “Self Care Expo” with healthy food and exercise demonstrations, free health screenings and a farmers market. Vendors were on hand to check blood pressure, demonstrate CPR techniques and distribute disaster preparedness supplies.

“We are so excited to partner with the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to better our residents’ health,” said Mayor Mario King.  The City will use the $50,000 grant to further efforts toward improving community health by promoting walking, bicycling and outdoor exercise.

The City of Moss Point was named “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown,” while the cities of Meridian and Hernando and the Town of Mantachie received Healthy Hometown honors. Moss Point, which was previously a Healthy Hometown winner in 2014, received a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to support its ongoing wellness initiatives. Meridian, Hernando and Mantachie will each receive $25,000 to further their own wellness efforts. Hernando was also a previous winner in the Healthy Hometown Awards program, having been named “Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown” in 2010. Meridian and Mantachie are both first time honorees. 

The Healthy Hometown Awards Program was established in 2010 to encourage healthy lifestyles at the community level while providing financial incentives to the cities and towns that have demonstrated the most progress. Healthy Hometown winning municipalities are chosen based on select criteria, including being tobacco-free communities, the promotion and support of community exercise, community-wide opportunities for healthy nutrition and supporting healthy learning environments in schools. Since 2010, the Foundation has provided $700,000 to support Healthy Hometown winners. 

“We are proud of Moss Point’s continued leadership in creating healthy places to live, learn and work,” said Sheila Grogan, Executive Director of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. “We encourage other communities around the state to be part of our collective efforts to build a healthy Mississippi.”

Healthy Hometown applications are evaluated by a panel of distinguished health and wellness champions from Mississippi and around the country. Judges for the 2017 Healthy Hometown Awards Program were: Sue Polis, Director of the National League of Cities, located in Washington D.C. Polis manages the health and wellness portfolio for the Institute of Youth, Education, and Families; Paula Little, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent and Supervisor of Instruction for the Clinton County School District in Kentucky. She also established the Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition; and Robert J. Gates, Project Director for the Trinity Educators Development Corporation, based in the Mississippi Delta, providing assistance to small and limited resource farmers. He also works collaboratively with community consultants to improve health and wellness in the Delta. 

To learn more about the Healthy Hometown Awards Program and this year’s winners, visit the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation’s website at

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Audubon Center Hosts Farm to Table Event

image004 Audubon Center Hosts Farm to Table Event

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The “Let’s Gather” Farm to Table Tasting took place at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center on Thursday, October 19 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Presented by the IP Casino and the Bacot McCarty Foundation, the event featured cooking demonstrations and tastings from IP Casino chefs as well as the opportunity to meet the Mississippi farmers and producers who provided local ingredients for the meal.

For the event, IP Casino Executive Chef Shannon Johnson crafted a fine-dining menu from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. He utilized many farmers from the Mississippi Gulf Coast including PJ Farm, Country Girl’s Creamery, Stinger Juice Honey and Sandy Ridge Farms.

The “Let’s Gather” Farm to Table Tasting was the product of a collaboration between the IP Casino’s Steve Morgan, the Bacot McCarty Foundation’s Todd Trenchard and the Pascagoula River Audubon Center’s Mark LaSalle. The IP Casino and Bacot McCarty Foundation supported the event as platinum sponsors and additionally, through the talent and time of over 20 employees. 

“This event was a great opportunity to use our relationship with the IP, pair them with our relationship with Chevron and other Jackson county industries, and showcase one of the premier nonprofit amenities in our region, the Pascagoula River Audubon Center,” said Todd Trenchard, executive director of the Bacot McCarty Foundation. “We got together, discussed it and looked at our possibilities. The event was a combination of a lot of hard work behind the scenes that resulted in what will hopefully be an annual partnership to benefit our local communities going forward,” Trenchard continued.

Other event sponsors included Ingalls Shipbuilding, Chevron Pascagoula Refinery and Back Porch Solutions. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness of the fundraising needs and opportunities of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center. While the Center bears the national Audubon name, its programs and operations are supported entirely locally. For more information on giving opportunities at the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, call 228-475-0825, visit, or visit the Center at 5107 Arthur Street in Moss Point.

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Hang Your Bra on Moss Point Bridge for Breast Cancer Awareness

bras-across-the-river-final- Hang Your Bra on Moss Point Bridge for Breast Cancer Awareness

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MOSS POINT- Singing River Federal Credit Union will host their 7th Annual Bras Across the River event and Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, October 14th. 

The event will start at 8 am, where thousands of bras will be strung across the Moss Point bridge, beginning at Pelican Landing. There will be a Fun Run/Walk at 9 am, following the hanging of the bras.

Singing River Federal Credit Union is partnering with local businesses including the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Jackson County Board of Supervisors to make this event a success. The annual event donates all funds to the American Cancer Society where those are marked for helping victims & families on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and increasing research abilities to find a cure for this disease that affects so many in our area. SRFCU will donate $1 per bra to breast cancer support on the MS Gulf Coast area.


Jimmy Smith, President / CEO of Singing River Federal Credit Union says, “The Bras Across the River event is greatly successful in raising funds for local Breast Cancer awareness and support. We could not do this without your community support and the partnerships of many local businesses. Everyone should get involved.”


Attendees can register for the event at or call 228.475.9531 for details and registration information.

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mgrc, chevron team up to support early childhood education

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To raise awareness of early childhood education and the importance of reading, Chevron and the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic (MGRC) organized a “Read to Me” event at Kreole Elementary in Moss Point.

PGA Tour and Champions Tour player Jay Don Blake read to the pre-K children as part of the “Read to Me” program that is associated with Excel By 5.

Also, as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to early childhood education, Chevron, in partnership with the MGRC, made a $25,000 contribution to Excel By 5 to support local community literacy programs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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Grand Bay NERR Celebrates National Estuaries Day

NED-2-1 Grand Bay NERR Celebrates National Estuaries Day

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On Saturday, the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) celebrated National Estuaries Day by hosting ‘Seaside with  a Scientist’. The event offered education, free lunch and a boat tour. 

Guests were taken by boat through beautiful Bayou Heron to meet scientists and explore several different types of habitat. They were also able to tour the interpretive center and enjoy their exhibit hall full of interactive displays by other related organizations. The tour’s lunch was sponsored by Chevron and provided to the first 200 guests to arrive for the event. 

“Each year during NED we invite the community to our Coastal Resources Center here in Moss Point to allow them to spend a day in the shoes of a scientist. We take them by boat into our estuary where they meet NERR scientists, learn about some of our research, and explore different habitats,” says Dennis McGrury with the Grand Bay NERR.

The event was a success and served as a great learning opportunity for the people of Jackson County. Guests learned how scientists conduct research in the field and use that information to help protect our estuaries and other coastal habitats.

“While we will continue the tradition this year, we plan on adding a little more to the NED experience”, says McGrury.

For more information on the Grand Bay NERR, visit their website at

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