Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church’s 35th annual Crab Festival continues today, Saturday, in Bay St. Louis, and is one of  multiple celebrations going on the area this weekend.

The Fourth has flown and all the beaches are closed, but the flags are still flying and the fun-in-the-sun will continue throughout Hancock County over the weekend.

Thousands of people turned out Thursday for the 35th annual Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church Crab Festival and the fourth annual Destination Waveland celebration, which featured, food, fun, fireworks and live music.

"We've had a huge turn-out today, and everybody seems to be having a lot of fun," Waveland City Clerk Mickey Lagasse said.

Crab Festival organizers said there was also a huge crowd on the festival grounds Thursday, but anticipated even more for Friday and Saturday.

The festival continues today, Saturday, with live music, seafood delicacies, carnival rides and arts & crafts vendors.

Pat Murphy and Sippiana Soul are scheduled to perform from 2-6 p.m.; and Ryan Foret and Foret Tradition from 7-11 p.m.

Also today, Saturday, July 6, the Garden Isle Community Association will host its annual Patriotic Boat Parade, beginning at 6 p.m.

Dozens of families will decorate their boats in patriotic colors and travel down the Jourdan River in All-American style.

51st annual


Family Reunion

Thursday also marked the 51st annual Acker-Williams Family Reunion in Bay St. Louis.

"We celebrated the very first one 51 years ago today, right in this backyard (on Ballentine Street)," event originator Clarence "Reggie" Williams said.

Williams, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, now lives in San Antonio, Tex., where he serves as vice-president for Advancement at Hallmark University and president and CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation. However, he still returns to Bay St. Louis for the July 4th reunion, now chaired by his brother-in-law, Bay resident Emmett Acker.

"We've had about 150 people through today so far, but we expect a few more," Williams said. "People kind of come and go throughout the day. We've fed 'em all, but there's still plenty of food to go around.

“We have everything, boiled shrimp, crabs, potato salad … . And the fried ribs. Folks love the fried ribs."

Williams said the family keeps close ties -- and the tradition alive -- due to mutual love and respect.

"This is a house of love, here," he said. "It's all about love."

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