Hub City preps for second annual Mardi Gras parade
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 13:01
A taste of the Mardi Gras season will be close to home Thursday for Pine Belt residents when the Caerus Mardi Gras Parade rolls through the streets of Hattiesburg.
The first Mardi Gras parade in Hattiesburg, held last year, attracted about 10,000 spectators, according to the parade’s website. Attendance was higher than originally expected.
The idea for the parade came from Ronnie Chadwell of Keith’s Superstores, the parade sponsor.
“Chadwell decided Hattiesburg was too big not to have its own Mardi Gras parade,” parade director Melissa Davis said.
This year’s parade will feature 100 floats, double the amount of last year. Organizers are expecting at least 15,000 parade goers.
“The Caerus Parade Group has made many improvements to this, the second annual [parade],” Davis said. “This year’s parade will have a theme: ‘Music of Mississippi.’ This gives participants the opportunity to feature music legends that originated in our state.”
Davis said floats will be judged by a panel, including local celebrities Randy Swan and Sheri Falk of WDAM.
University of Southern Mississippi student Dawne Kennedy, who is working with Historia Films on a float, said the process of preparing for the parade is exciting.
“We are going to have some amazing throws and have the float decorated in a Hollywood motion picture theme,” Kennedy said. “It has taken a lot of planning, and I can’t wait for people to see our logo come to life — seriously to life, as in six feet tall columns and Caryatid statues.”
Kennedy believes having a Mardi Gras parade in Hattiesburg makes the season better.
“It reminds me of prepping for Mardi Gras when I lived in New Orleans,” Kennedy said. “The fact that we’re celebrating here in the ‘Burg just makes it better.”
According to Davis, there are many unique floats in the parade, including last year’s winning float “Krewe of Froth,” which features a gigantic beer mug, and Sidelines Sports Grill’s double-decker float featuring The Glitter Boys’ live performance.
The Glitter Boys will also perform at an after party at Sidelines, one of many restaurants involved in the festivities.
Davis urged revelers to eat and drink at local establishments before and after the event.
“The restaurants and pubs along the route are well prepared and ready to feed you, offering Mardi Gras specials all day,” said Davis.
According to Davis, there are many unique floats in the parade, including last year’s winning float “Krewe of Froth,” which features a gigantic beer mug. Sidelines Sports Grill is also planning a double-decker float featuring The Glitter Boys’ live performance.
The parade will start at 7 p.m., and all roads along the parade route will be closed from 6 until 10 p.m.
Beginning at the Hillcrest residence hall parking lot, the parade route stretches from Championship Lane parallel to U.S. 49, then east down Hardy, turning right onto 38th Avenue, right onto Montague Street, then ending at the intersection at Kay James Drive.
The event is all-ages and family friendly.
For more information, visit www.caerusmardigras.com.