Mardi Gras parade, annual gumbo cookoff canceled due to COVID concerns
Mardi Gras events in downtown Vicksburg have become a tradition, but they will not be held in 2021.
Downtown Vicksburg, which organizes the annual downtown Mardi Gras parade, and the Vicksburg Foundations for Historic Preservation, which organizes the annual Carnaval De Mardi Gras and Gumbo Cookoff, have announced that both events have been canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the events had been scheduled for Feb. 13.
“We are so disappointed that because of the pandemic, we have to cancel the 2021 Carnaval De Mardi Gras and Gumbo Cookoff, executive director of the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation Nancy Bell said. “It is simply not safe, or within the city’s guidelines to hold an event with 2,000 people regardless of the fact that it is held outdoors.”
The Carnaval De Mardi Gras and Gumbo Cookoff draws huge crowds to the block of Crawford Street near the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation and serves as a fundraiser for the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation. In February 2020, the event raised $16,000.
Bell said she is not sure how they will be able to recoup that amount for the budget.
As for the parade, Main Street Downtown Vicksburg Executive Director Kim Hopkins said the parade, which would have rolled through downtown Vicksburg hours before the gumbo cookoff, was called off because of the crowds the event draws and not being able to host in a way that would meet city and state guidelines.
“There really is no way to have the parade safely,” Hopkins said. “We needed to cancel the parade due to the health and safety of the volunteers, crews and spectators due to COVID. We just did not see where we could have it.”
Hopkins said Downtown Vicksburg Main Street’s board of directors are meeting on Jan. 21, where the staff will present plans for a number of COVID-safe events that will celebrate Mardi Gras and support businesses downtown.
Hopkins said those events will be announced following the board’s meeting.
“We do plan on celebrating Mardi Gras in several different ways. We are planning a number of activities and festivities downtown that will be COVID-safe,” she said.