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Thousands flock to downtown Vicksburg for Mardi Gras festivities

Bundled in her mother’s arms Saturday afternoon, Raelyn McCormick was looking around and taking in all the sights and sounds as the time approached for Vicksburg’s Mardi Gras parade.

“We normally come to the parade,” her mother, Brittany McCormick, said. “This is her first time; she’ll probably forget it, but we’ll have a lot of pictures to remind her.”

Raelyn and her family were among the thousands of people from Vicksburg and the surrounding area to watch the city’s parade, which has become an annual tradition the Saturday before Mardi Gras Day.

Saturday’s events kicked off with the first Krewe of Barkus parade featuring dogs of every breed; some walking with their owners and some being carried in wagons. One Scottie was dressed for the part in plaid and accompanied by its owner wearing a kilt.

The floats that followed carried riders who showered the crowd with beads, Moon Pies, cups and other items. Some floats also dispensed stuffed animals, which were a hit with the crowds and the creativity of their krewes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District float was a riverboat. The float from Danny Hearn Trucking featured an animated dragon, whose head moved back and forth.

The District’s float claimed the title of best in show, while Danny Hearn Trucking’s entry earned the best in business title.

“We had a wonderful crowd,” Vicksburg Main Street executive director Kim Hopkins said. “The weather was great. I think everybody enjoyed the sunshine, and I think that contributed to the large crowd. People wanted to get outside and enjoy the weather and the sun.”

Some members of the crowd were returning to the parade after a period of absence.

Richard and Judy Letlow of Rayville, La., came to the parade after being away for the past 10 years.

“We had a good time last year,” Judy said.

“The weather was good and there was nothing going on in Rayville,” Richard said.

Scottie and Glenda Maxie of Florence last attended the parade two years ago. They had a special reason for returning.

“Our grandkids moved back from Florida,” Glenda said. “We wanted them to experience the parade.”

“This is nice, clean fun,” Scottie said. “This is a good place for a parade; it’s safe.”

Other winning entries included:

• Golding Barge, most original.

• Elks Club, best civic club.

• “Tiki Mardi Gras,” best non-profit.

• Vicksburg Cruisers, best recreation club.

• Krew de la Burg, most enthusiastic.

• Sheffield Rental, best throws.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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