Meridian Star

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February 3, 2013

Meridian Mardi Gras

Revelers mix it up

MERIDIAN —     Mardi Gras revelers enjoyed sunny skies Saturday in downtown Meridian.

    The smell of gumbo cooking and the sight of children — and some adults, decked out in colorful masks gave a celebratory air to Dumont Plaza on 22nd Avenue.

    Dogs of all sizes and descriptions wearing Mardi Gras costumes added to the fun.

    John McClure, executive director of Meridian Main Street, estimated that around noon there were already about 1,000 people celebrating Mardi Gras downtown.

    "We were blessed with such an absolutely gorgeous day. I think we'll have our biggest crowd ever," McClure said.

    Music filled the air as bands played while people milled about eating funnel cake and visiting with friends and neighbors.

    McClure said one of the highlights of this year's Mardi Gras festival was the Queen City Jam, a music competition between five bands, which played throughout the day.

    To vote on a winning band, go to the Meridian Main Street Facebook page and like it, and you will be eligible to vote on the band of your choice. If you missed some performances you can view them on the Facebook page before voting, McClure said.

    The first, second and third place winners will be announced on Monday.

    "We have great musicians participating. They have come and given us their time in support of this," McClure said. "This way they get a little recognition, so it's good for everybody."

    King cakes sold out early, so McClure said next year remember to order online early to make sure you get one. Everyone working together made the festival a success, he said.

    "We've got a wonderful team of volunteers," he said.

    This was the first Meridian Mardi Gras for Steven Miller, who moved here about five months ago.

    "It's a really big success," Miller said. "They need a few more vendors, but other than that it is a big success. It's a good turn out."

    Crystal Babin is also new to Meridian.

    "I'm from Pensacola. My husband's in the Navy. He's an air traffic controller and this is our first year here," Babin said. "I think it's great. It's nice to have something to do on the weekend. We're having a really nice time."

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