On Saturday, Feb. 23, Caerus Mardi Gras Parade Group held their seventh annual parade in the city of Hattiesburg.
Roughly 40 floats rolled in this year’s parade. Hundreds of spectators attended the event to catch beads and watch various business’ and organizations’ floats.
The 2.2-mile parade route started on the Service Road by Highway 49 and headed south in front of Southern Miss’ campus before turning right onto Hardy Street. The parade continued west before turning right onto North 38th Ave., ending on Morningside Drive.
Last year the parade was canceled due to threatening weather. This year the city and the parade organizers decided to roll rain or shine.
With the threat of potentially bad weather Saturday, many patrons took notice to the speed at which the parade moved.
Cory Hankins rode in the parade with the Sidelines float.
“It moved fast,” Hankins said. “They were booking it. They started half an hour early. Our walkers had a hard time keeping up. It seemed like they were trying to get it done with.”
Andrew Dews has been attending the Mardi Gras parade for a number of years.
“I’m glad they had the parade this year, you know last year they canceled it,” Dews said. “I think it rained more this year than it did last year but the parade was very quick, it seemed. They may have been trying to get it over with because of the weather.”
Rob Cater is a teacher who lives in the vicinity of the parade route.
“It was very fast. The weather may have played a factor in that,” Cater said.
Patricia Cater said she wants to be in the parade next year.
“I love the parade. I love it so much that I think I will try to be a part of it next year,” Patricia Cater said. “We’re talking about starting a walking club.”
Local chiropractor Chris Puckett said there was an aspect missing from the parade.
“I missed the marching bands,” Puckett said. “I always love to see the bands during Mardi Gras parades, but there were no bands.”
Despite the quickness of the parade, many of the parade-goers seemed to enjoy themselves.
Allyson Puckett, a school teacher in the Pine Belt said the parade was awesome. “It was kind of short, but it was still fun,” Puckett said. “Who doesn’t love a parade?”
A Petal School district coach Jamie Vaughn said it was the best Mardi Gras parade Hattiesburg had all year.
“This was the best Mardi Gras parade Hattiesburg has had in the last two years, hands down,” Vaughn said.
The crowds came to catch all the traditional throws such as beads, moon pies, candy, cups, plush items and much more. Many floats featured DJs and speaker systems entertaining the crowd with music as they made their way through the streets.