Free Flowin’ fest celebrates Pascagoula River

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.

IMG_3072 Free Flowin' fest celebrates Pascagoula River
IMG_3072 Free Flowin' fest celebrates Pascagoula River

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.”

IMG_3072 Free Flowin' fest celebrates Pascagoula River

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.

IMG_3072 Free Flowin' fest celebrates Pascagoula River
Learn more »
No Comment

Easter Egg Hunt brings many to Beach Park

It’s Good Friday. The kids are out of school and you have the day off work. What is the family to do on a day like this? Why not spend the day at the park? That is exactly what numerous families did as they spent the evening at Pascagoula Beach Park at the 39th Annual Easter Egg Hunt.

As the sun was setting over the Mississippi Sound, parents brought their children and their Easter baskets to the park. While waiting for the Easter Bunny, children had the chance to enjoy the playgrounds and get their faces painted. 

As 6:30 drew closer, families gathered by the designated egg hunt areas to watch the Easter Bunny arrive. Courtesy of the Pascagoula Fire Department, the bunny of the hour was escorted directly to the park, where the bunny was swarmed by children eager to meet the embodiment of Easter. By this point the line for pictures with the Easter Bunny was yards long.

Quickly, parents prepared their toddlers for the first egg hunt of the evening. Children divided into different groups by age for staggered hunt times, all wrapped up in time for Movie Night Under the Stars.

Families laid out their blankets and unfolded their chairs to relax and let the kids enjoy their treats. With the wonderful weather and beautiful location along the Pascagoula beach, no one could have wanted for anything more.

Learn more »
No Comment

Cyclists gather for community awareness ride

Click the gallery above to view larger.

As the sun rose over the Singing River on the first Sunday in April, dozens of cyclists gathered at Pascagoula’s River Park for a community ride throughout Jackson County.

Right 2 Ride was first held in 2016, and the number of participants doubled in its second year to nearly 100.

“Today is meant to educate motorists that cyclists have the right to ride on the road,” said Kristi Ducote, Outdoor Recreation Specialist with the City of Pascagoula. “None of the roads are blocked off, so cyclists are interacting with regular traffic today.”

Ducote explained how cyclists do have the right to ride on roadways and some of the laws that apply.

“There is a state law that says that motorists should allow a minimum of three feet when passing a cyclist,” Ducote explained. “I say just take the guess work out of it and change lanes to pass a cyclist as you would a motor vehicle. Cyclists should also make sure to ride right with the flow of traffic and obey all the rules of the road such as stopping at stop signs and using turn signals.”

Right 2 Ride offered bike routes of four different distances to attract and accommodate cyclists of all riding abilities. The 83-mile ride began at 7 a.m. while the 40-mile, 20-mile and 8-mile rides began at 8 a.m.

All cyclists had to register for the event in order to receive a goody bag, a participation medal, an event t-shirt and refreshments before and after the ride.

 

“All proceeds from today’s ride will go toward making Pascagoula a bike friendly community,” Ducote said. 

Learn more »
No Comment

Yacht club chef returns to Food Network

One of the great things about the Mississippi Gulf Coast is the amazing food the region offers.

It isn’t just because of the local seafood or the proximity to New Orleans. All of those assets would mean nothing if not in the hands of talented chefs such as Food Network-featured Stacie “Cheffy” Vande Wetering.

cheffy-ggg Yacht club chef returns to Food NetworkWetering has been featured on Beat Bobby Flay and is now returning to Guy’s Grocery Games as part of a Winner’s Tournament after winning on the first episode she competed in, which was a whirlwind of an experience.

“I remember getting a call on a random Wednesday afternoon in October asking if I would be interested in auditioning for Guy’s Grocery Games. I did a Skype interview that Friday and then had 48 hours to submit a three-minute video of myself to determine if my personality would be right for the show. It was a long process of lots of phone calls and being asked the same questions over and over again.”

Wetering flew out the week before Thanksgiving and ended up appearing on a special episode of the series.

“It turns out I’m working with another chef during this competition who I’ve literally never met before. You’ve got two people crammed into this cooking station that is really only meant for one, and he’s a foot and a half taller than me on top of that.”

Guy’s Grocery Games is a show, hosted by Guy Fieri, that sends four chefs shopping for ingredients in a grocery store set to then make a dish for the challenge. However, things are not as straightforward as they seem because the challenge also lies in the different parameters set for the shopping and cooking, such as a budget or an unexpected added ingredient all while under a time limit for the shopping and cooking.

“I just remember it all being a whirlwind,” Wetering recalled. “Those clocks are for real and that was the fastest 30 minutes I have ever experienced in my life. You just go into automatic pilot. Even though we had just met, [my partner and I] worked together like we had been working together for 20 years.”

Wetering and her partner won the competition for that episode, and now she is returning to the Flavortown Market.

“I got a phone call asking if I would be interested and available to compete in a winners’ tournament and I said of course. While I can’t say much about it now, I will say I ended up competing against my partner from the first episode I was on. We keep in touch, but we didn’t know we were both invited back until we were flying out.”

Competing on Food Network programming is just the latest accomplishment Wetering has made in her culinary career.

Wetering has had a passion for cooking since early in her life, inspired by her father. She decided early in her college career that her ideal classroom was the kitchen and her instructor a professional chef.

“I’ve been cooking for almost 27 years now,” she said. “I started a formal two-year apprenticeship under a German chef in Orange Beach, Alabama, working from 1991-1993. I’m not knocking culinary schools, but I firmly believe I would not have gotten as far in my career as I did if not for my apprenticeship.”

Wetering’s culinary career has included working under five different Certified Master Chefs, the highest level of achievement from the American Culinary Federation.

“At any one time, there are only 55-65 Certified Master Chefs in the world,” Wetering said.

Wetering has experience with cuisine in the style of classic French, Italian, Asian, Central and Southern Mexican. She can do everything in her kitchen from managing the menu to washing the dishes.

“In cooking, you have to pay your dues,” Wetering said. “As a chef, you need to be able to do everything in your kitchen to have the respect of your staff. A lot of my career I’ve been choosey about who I work for. I knew what I wanted to learn and what I wanted to do.”

Wetering has worked in numerous restaurants throughout Atlanta as well as New York and various locations in Alabama. She now finds herself as General Manager and Executive Chef at the Singing River Yacht Club in Pascagoula.cheffy-ggg Yacht club chef returns to Food Network

“If you had asked me five years ago if I would be interested in moving to South Mississippi running a private yacht club, I would say you’re insane,” Wetering joked.

Wetering’s previous position was working as the Executive Chef at a tennis club in Fairhope, Alabama.

“I had a lot of freedom with my menu and a great crew,” she recounted. “But even if I’m happy in my position I’ll talk to anyone because you never know what might happen. I was asked to interview for this position at a club where the board felt it was time for a change. “

Change is exactly what Wetering brought with her.

“I’m all about a challenge. I’m a fixer. I’m type A. Over my career I would go into a kitchen, and whatever it was the kitchen may or may not have been functioning as best as it could. I would fix it and then I would need something else to challenge me. We’re still a work in progress, but in nearly two years, we now have a waiting list for members, which has never happened before. We have tripled profit and now this is where everyone wants to be. I still have a way to go and still so much I want to do with it. I’m not trying to make it fancy or high end, but a great family-friendly yacht club.”

While the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a change from Atlanta and New York, Cheffy is happy to call Pascagoula her home.

“We have no plans to go anywhere. We’re even buying a house. You just can’t beat where we leave.”

 

 

 

 

Learn more »
No Comment

Community votes for ‘Best of Pascagoula’

The City of Pascagoula called for votes, and the people answered. 

In February, the city launched the “Best of Pascagoula” program asking for nominations in 30 categories of things to see and do in Pascagoula. 

The goal of the program is to bring awareness to the city’s community assets.

The voting closed on March 24, and the winners have been announced.

  • Best Art Gallery: River Art Gallery
  • Best Community Event or Festival: Zonta
  • Best Landmark or Local Attraction: Bozo’s Seafood Market & Deli
  • Best Free Kid’s Activity: Movie Night Under the Stars
  • Best Park: Beach Park
  • Best Place to Fish/Crab/Flounder: Beach Park Fishing Pier
  • Best Place to Take Out of Town Guests: Bozo’s Seafood Market & Deli
  • Best Project you’d like to see happen in Pascagoula: More Restaurants
  • Best Reason to Live in Pascagoula: Coast Life
  • Best Thing Pascagoula Needs: Movie Theater
  • Best Trail: Beach Boulevard
  • Best View: Beach
  • Best Volunteer Opportunity: Coastal Cleanup
  • Best Breakfast: Sarah Sue’s
  • Best Family Dinner: Cornerstone
  • Best Lunch Place: Bozo’s Seafood Market & Deli
  • Best Buffet: Jerry Lee’s Grocery & Deli
  • Best Burger: Edd’s Drive In
  • Best Po-Boy: Bozo’s Seafood Market & Deli
  • Best Sweet Treat: Anderson’s Bakery
  • Best Seafood Place: Bozo’s Seafood Market & Deli
  • Best Pizza: New York Pizza
  • Best Tamales: La Fiesta Brava
  • Best Sandwich Shop: Lenny’s Sub Shop
  • Best Healthy Option: Nura Juice
  • Best Place to Hear Live Music: Jack’s By the Tracks
  • Best Cocktail or Drink: Jack’s By the Tracks
  • Best Beer Selection: Jack’s By the Tracks
  • Best Liquor Store: Liquors Unlimited
  • Best Place to Meet After Work: Jack’s By the Tracks

Awards will be presented to the winners at the City Council Meeting held April 4.

Learn more »
No Comment

Pascagoula offers summer swimming lessons

Screen-Shot-2017-03-30-at-10.19.23-AM Pascagoula offers summer swimming lessons

The City of Pascagoula Parks and Recreation department is offering swimming lessons  in the months of June and July.

Anyone ages 3 and up are open to register for classes offered in three different sessions from June 13-23, July 5-14 and July 18-28.

Classes are 45 minutes long and will be held at the Andrew Johnson Pool. Times for children’s classes are at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.. Adult classes will be at 5 p.m. only during the first and third sessions.

Cost for the classes is $35 for residents and $45 for non-residents, but scholarships are available. To register, visit the city’s website.

Learn more »
No Comment

Bozo’s honored as Family-Owned Business of the Year

12593726_1006038432804662_2960002078971616502_o Bozo's honored as Family-Owned Business of the Year

Click the image above to view larger.

A Jackson County landmark has been honored by the Small Business Administration as the 2017 Generational Family-Owned Business of the Year Award.

Boasting some of the finest fresh seafood and signature seasonings, Bozo’s Seafood Market and Deli has been a staple of Pascagoula for over 60 years. 

Many reviews rave the restaurant’s seafood selection, so check out the place to judge for yourself.

Learn more »
No Comment

Pascagoula lawyer inducted into Ole Miss Hall of Fame

RayBrown Pascagoula lawyer inducted into Ole Miss Hall of Fame

Click the image above to view larger.

A Jackson County lawyer was honored on March 25 by being inducted into the University of Mississippi School of Law Alumni Hall of Fame.

Raymond Brown has been practicing law in Pascagoula since the 1960s after he graduated from Ole Miss and the University of Maryland in 1962. Upon graduation, Brown was able to serve as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, a rare occurrence for graduates fresh out of law school.

“I believe my induction has to do with a number of things, including my clerkship, but also serving as president of the Mississippi Bar and other positions I’ve held in my professional career,” Brown said.

Brown’s time in law school was an unusual one. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree from Ole Miss in 1958, Brown played professional football for the Baltimore Colts for three years as safety and punter helping lead the team to two NFL World Championships in 1958 and 1959. During his football career, Brown attended the University of Maryland in the fall semester and Ole Miss in the spring until 1962.

Brown’s other achievements include being inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2006, the Ole Miss Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 2000, the M-Club Hall of Fame in 1988 and served as president of the Ole Miss Alumni Association from 1991-92.

“You spend your career in a profession trying to be professional, be ethical, treat people right, do the right and things, and then when something like this comes along, you think ‘Gee, I did it right,'” Brown added. “They gave me this honor based upon what I’ve done, so I must have done it right.”

Learn more »
No Comment

Volunteers walk to fight heart disease

Click the gallery above to view larger.

Volunteers gathered from all across Jackson County at Pascagoula beach Saturday morning to join the fight against heart disease.

The 2017 Jackson County MS Heart Walk took place at the Pascagoula Beach Park on March 18. With heart disease causing roughly one in four deaths in the U.S., money raised from the heart walk is able to go to life-saving research.

One participant with the Chevron team has heart disease affect him personally in his lifetime.

“In 2007, I lost my mother to heart disease,” said Chris Cochran, a maintenance team leader. “My father has heart disease, and I was diagnosed with heart disease and had four heart stents.”

However, Cochran hasn’t let the odds discourage him.

“The heart walk is important to me to show even if you have heart disease, you can be very active,” he said. 

Saturday’s Heart Walk was able to raise over $98,000 for the American Heart Association.

Learn more »
No Comment

Maritime museum holds ribbon cutting

ribbon-cutting Maritime museum holds ribbon cutting

The Mississippi Maritime Museum’s phase one is now open after a ribbon cutting held Thursday, March 16.

Housed in the band hall of the old Pascagoula High School property, phase one involves an activity center to make maritime history and interactive experience for the whole family.

The goal of the museum is to tell the story of the state’s 300-year maritime history, preserving the past and educating future generations.

ribbon-cutting Maritime museum holds ribbon cutting

“This is not a Pascagoula museum,” said Mayor Jim Blevins “This isn’t a Jackson County museum. This isn’t even a Mississippi museum. This is a museum for all the ship builders across the nation.”

One unique aspect of the ribbon cutting was a christening of the museum, honoring the maritime roots. 

ribbon-cutting Maritime museum holds ribbon cutting

The next phase of the museum is projected to be complete in 2020, and will include the actual museum housed in the old math and science building of the high school.

Learn more »
No Comment