Excited to witness my first Vicksburg Mardi Gras

Published 9:07 am Sunday, January 28, 2024

Where I come from, we got out of school for Mardi Gras every year. Growing up in Mobile, Alabama, we just thought every-
one did. And, yep. In case you were wondering, we did it first. We held the first Mardi Gras in the United States in 1703, or at
least that’s what we were taught growing up and were encouraged to repeat as often as possible in order to annoy our friends a few miles to the west in New Orleans.

Regardless of where it started or who does it better, Mardi Gras is a big deal down here, and in other parts of the country, too. My freshman year of college, I was shocked to find out St. Louis has a huge celebration of its own. I guess I just always associated Mardi Gras with the South. So, a friend and I packed up and made the two-hour drive to check it out and promptly
got lost in a not-so-great part of town. This was long before you could plug your destination into your phone, so it took us a while to figure out where we had gone wrong. But, once we did, we witnessed first-hand how they do Carnival season in
the midwest.

Most recently, I got a taste of how Louisiana residents not living in the Big Easy celebrate while spending three years in the northeast part of the Pelican State. And all-in-all, each place has brought its own unique spin to the celebration, while still
sticking to the themes we all associate with this time of year. But, now, I want to see how we do it in Vicksburg.

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I’ve seen the photos from past years’ parades and I’ve marked my calendar with all of the upcoming events in town, and it looks to me like I’m in for a good time. On Saturday, Feb. 10, we’ll get treated to this year’s Mardi Gras parade through downtown. Also being held that Saturday will be the 12th Annual Carnaval de Mardi Gras Gumbo Cook-Off, sponsored by the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation from 5 until 7 p.m. at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center.

And that’s just a few of the upcoming Mardi Gras events. So, there is a lot going on in Vicksburg this Carnaval season. I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s done in Mississippi!

Blake Bell is the general manager and executive editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at blake.bell@vicksburgpost.com.