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The Bandit Run 2012 will stop two nights in Biloxi MS

BILOXI -- Drivers who look in their rear-view mirrors May 16 could be surprised to see “Smokey” in a police cruiser and a caravan of about 120 muscle cars rolling into Biloxi to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the movie “Smokey and the Bandit.”

Beau Rivage Resort and Casino will host a two-night stop in Biloxi as the 2012 Bandit Run travels from Texarkana, Texas, to Atlanta on May 14-19.

That two-night pit stop will give fans of the movie and muscle cars a chance to join the fun, said Mary Cracchiolo-Spain, spokeswoman for the Beau Rivage.

COURTESY BANDIT RUN ‘Smokey’ is in the rearview mirror of muscle cars driving the Bandit Run. The event will stop two nights in Biloxi, where a bonfire, outdoor movie, car show and other events are planned.

 Drivers will be welcomed to Biloxi on May 16 with a sunset Bandit Run Bonfire on the Beach near the Beau Rivage from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

The party moves to the Biloxi Town Green on May 17.

Biloxi Main Street will host its popular movie on the green, and a look-alike costume contest will bring the characters of the 1977 film to life.

Whether they dress the part or not, people can sit on the green and watch “Smokey” -- Sheriff Buford T. Justice -- played by Jackie Gleason, his son’s runaway bride Carrie, played by Sally Field, and “Bandit” Burt Reynolds, a maverick race-car driver who makes an $80,000-dollar bet he can transport a shipment of Coors beer from Texarkana to Atlanta within 28 hours.

Adding to the festivities at the Town Green will be a car show, live music, refreshments and prizes, Cracchiolo-Spain said. A replica of the beer trailer driven by trucker Jerry “Snowman” Reed will be on display.

The Bandit Run began in 2007 for the 30th anniversary of “Smokey and the Bandit.” Since then, the race from Texarkana to Atlanta has been run each year, although the route changes.

Besides Biloxi, stops this year are in Lafayette, La.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Braselton, Ga.

“The Bandit Run is like the Super Bowl of polish and cruise,” said Ron Franks of Cumming, Ga., who was among those who joined Bandit Run. The event is open to everyone -- even those who don’t drive a Trans Am.

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