Mardi Gras parade still on go for Saturday

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 12, 2010

Bundle up, because Saturday’s Mardi Gras are still on tap — with the balmy theme of Latin Carnivale.

Main Street Executive Director Kim Hopkins said she is expecting a good turnout at the ninth annual parade in downtown Vicksburg, and despite today’s conditions the weather may cooperate. The forecast calls for partly sunny skies and temperatures warming toward 50 degrees at parade time.

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• Pre-parade events — Noon-2 p.m. Saturday at River Stage Plaza on Washington Street; free.

• Parade — 2 p.m. Saturday along Washington Street; theme, Latin Carnivale.

• Ball — 8 p.m. Saturday at SCHC; music by The Colonels; tickets: $35 in advance, $40 at door, $5 discount available for parade participants; to benefit Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation; 601-636-5010.

• Black History Month programs — Saturday and Sunday; 10 a.m., 11a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.; U.S.S. Cairo site at Vicksburg National Military Park; $8 per vehicle; 601-636-0583.

“We have a lot of different groups this year,” she said. This year’s grand marshals will be queen Nellie Caldwell and king David Gibson, both representing the Vicksburg Riverfront Murals committee.

New to the parade will be a group representing El Sombrero Mexican Restaurant.

“This is our first time,” restaurant owner Luis Angel said. “We’re just happy to be in it.”

Angel promises a depiction of Mexican culture through a colorful float, costumes and festive music. “We’re going to have a band playing. We’re going to have men riding horses to show what Mexican cowboys look like.”

Also new to the parade will be free activities for the family before the parade begins.

Live music at River Stage Plaza and children’s activities, as well as fundraiser to benefit Main Street, will be offered from noon to 2 p.m.

Parade-goers can continue the celebration into Saturday night at the eighth annual Mardi Gras Ball at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center.

Country-music band The Colonels will entertain at the event presented by the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation.

Doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door.

One Mardi Gras event did fall prey to the weather. A mask-making event scheduled for this afternoon was canceled.

While Mardi Gras is the epicenter of this weekend, Black History Month will also be observed with special programs this weekend at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Tommy Fehn will speak on the topic of Relief Efforts Among the Freedmen at 10 a.m., and James McNair will speak on the subject of Black Sailors at 11 a.m.

Afternoon talks will be by Dr. David Slay on the topic of United States Colored Troops at 1 p.m., and a 2 p.m. session is offered to visitors for a chance to interact with the speakers.

All talks, which will be under a canopy at the U.S.S Cairo site, are included in the $8 admission charge per car.

The park will also display exhibits honoring black military men throughout the month.

Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at