Marching bands will lead pep rallies in Gulfport, Bay St. Louis and Biloxi while a jazz band will serenade a gathering in Pascagoula.
In Mobile, the Excelsior Band will be on hand in what could be a Mardi Gras-themed welcoming.
And all along the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Gulf coasts, people will be encouraged to show up, bring signs and wave banners in support of Amtrak's first trip from New Orleans east toward Jacksonville, Fla., since before Hurricane Katrina blasted through a decade ago.
"There is a lot of excitement about the possibilities," said Billy Hewes, mayor of Gulfport, Miss.
Coastal cities where the Amtrak "inspection train" will stop for 10-minute intervals on Thursday and Friday are planning for as much hoopla as they can cram into a short time frame. The purpose, according to city officials, is to make a good impression as a study moves forward on returning passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast.
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