As Mississippi’s second-largest city and a rapidly growing area, Gulfport is booming with businesses and restaurants and ready to celebrate 125 years as an anchor city.
“Through a relentless pursuit of opportunities, Gulfport is helping to transform the physical and economic profile of the state’s fastest-growing region,” Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes said.
City leaders are set to host a family-centered Picnic in the Park celebration on July 29 at Jones Park and people are invited to bring blankets, ice chests, and food to enjoy the festivities. There will be a March of the Neighborhoods that will include participants from about 20 nearby residential communities. There will also be live entertainment and kids’ activities. The milestone celebration will end with a huge firework show.
And the city has a lot to celebrate since it was officially incorporated in July 1898 and began serving as an anchor city on the shores of the Magnolia State. Gulfport’s most significant developments include the construction of the G&SI Railroad and the deepening of the port, making it the third-largest commercial maritime operation in the Gulf of Mexico.
In fact, in the last decade, the city has had $1 billion in investments that encompass commercial, hospitality, medical, military, education, business, and tourism areas throughout the city.
Hallmark additions that make Gulfport a vibrant community to work and live in include the Port of Gulfport, the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Gulf Blue, the Gulfport Sportsplex, the Mississippi Aquarium, Jones Park, and Lynn Meadows Discovery Center. Of course, there are also award-winning restaurants and cuisines that make Gulfport and the entire Gulf Coast an eclectic cultural food fare paradise.
But the city has not been without challenges to overcome in recent years such as Hurricanes Katrina, Zeta, and Ida, the BP Oil Spill, the COVID-19 pandemic, and even invasive species of algae blooms that have peppered the popular beaches.
Even in the wake of natural disasters and economic transformations, the city’s journey is one of remarkable progress and unwavering resilience. City leaders said the upcoming firework display is meant to represent Gulfport’s enduring spirit and symbolize the area’s vibrant past, dynamic present, and promising future.
The free family-friendly event begins at 5 p.m. with games, inflatable activities, and numerous food trucks. The March of the Neighborhoods begins at 5:30 p.m. Live entertainment, including musical acts, starts at 6:30 p.m. and the festive fireworks celebration concludes the evening and begins at 8:30 p.m.