Parade and gumbo competition draw thousands
Published 12:01 am Sunday, March 2, 2014
Vicksburg natives Zether Burks and Jenna Johnson sat patiently Saturday afternoon on Washington Street near Willingham’s in anticipation of the 13th Downtown Vicksburg Mardi Gras parade and its 33 entries. Johnson didn’t come empty handed.
“I thought I’d bring my Mardi Gras colored umbrella with me to represent. I’m bringing New Orleans to Vicksburg,” said Johnson.
About 4,000 people attended this year’s edition of the downtown rendition of Mardi Gras, based on crowd depths. Calls to Kim Hopkins, executive director of Vicksburg Main Street, which organizes the parade each year, were not returned late Saturday.
The two first time paradegoers thought that the outing on a beautiful 70 degree day was good for them.
“I’m really excited. I just wanted get out of the house and have some fun,” said Burks.
For Janetra Brown, seeing the enthusiasm of the crowd mixed with entertaining music made her even more excited to see the parade.
“I can’t wait to see the crowd get hype and chase beads,” she said.
One of those enthusiastic audience members was Ashley Wilson from Fayette. She was surprised by the number of beads she caught.
“I really enjoyed catching the beads. I didn’t expect to get as many as I did. This was a great experience,” said Wilson.
The parade was the beginning of the day’s events with the third annual Vicksburg Carnaval de Mardi Gras at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center sponsored by the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation, which kicked off at 5 p.m.
Parade participant Steve Johnston represented the Knights of Columbus in the festivities for the second year in a row. Johnston was pleased with the event.
“It was fun. We had a good crowd and nice weather,” said Johnston.