Tickets are still available for the Mardi Gras Krewe Ball at the Temple Theatre Ballroom on Saturday.

This is the first year for the ball, which coincides with Meridian's Little Mardi Gras celebration set for next weekend.

Al Brown, chairman of the ball, which is sponsored by the Meridian Downtown Association and radio station 103.3 WZKR, said organizers look forward to making the ball an annual party.

"We want this to be another Downtown Association event that will give people something to see and something to do," Brown said.

The 2006 Mardi Gras Court will be presented at the ball.

The public is invited. Attendees can come as they are or wear costumes. A Cajun meal will be served and entertainment will be provided by the band Abstract.

"The band is made up of displaced New Orleans musicians," Brown said. "What better way to celebrate Mardi Gras locally than to help support these musicians who have played with the likes of Buckwheat Zydeco, Dr. John, Harry Connick Jr., and others?"

Party-goers may bring their own alcohol to the ball. Set-ups will be provided.

At noon today, the Midas Coronation Parade is scheduled to be held in Dumont Plaza, weather permitting.

The coronation will honor the person who has helped the Meridian Downtown Association the most over the past year. Members of the Meridian Downtown Association have voted for these nominees: Connie Royal, Carolyn Smith, Dorothy Allen and Tracey Garrett.

Little Mardi Gras events scheduled next weekend include music by Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys who will headline the Little Mardi Gras Block Party on Friday, Feb. 24, at Dumont Plaza. The Little Mardi Gras Block Party will begin at 6 p.m. Concessions will be available. Admission is free.

Also on Friday, at noon, LOVE's Kitchen will host its annual Courir Du Mardi Gras canned food collection through downtown Meridian.

Little Mardi Gras festivities for Saturday, Feb. 25, include:

An all-day Plaza Party at Dumont Plaza sponsored by radio station 103.3 WZKR and Comcast

10:30 a.m. — Krewe of Barkus pet parade sponsored by WMDN/WGBC and Dr. George Shannon, veterinarian

11:30 a.m. — Krewe of Kids children's parade sponsored by radio station WMOX and First State Bank

1 p.m. — Jazz Dance Presentation sponsored by The Meridian Star

3 p.m. — Krewe of Trucks truck parade sponsored by radio station 97 OKK

4:30 p.m. — Gumbo Cook-off competition sponsored by WTOK-TV

6 p.m. — Krewe of Midas Parade sponsored by Clear Channel Radio

Other sponsors of the 2006 Little Mardi Gras event are the city of Meridian, Main Street Meridian, the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, East Mississippi Business Development Corp., the Meridian Downtown Association, Budweiser and Bonita Lakes Mall.

For more information, call the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau at (601) 482-8001.

WANT TO GO?

What: Mardi Gras Krewe Ball

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Where: Temple Theatre, 2320 Eighth St.

Tickets: $25 at the door, or call Michele Pearson at (601) 482-6699 or radio

station WZKR, 103.3, at (601) 693-1103. Ticket price includes Cajun meal and live band. The party is BYOB; set-ups will be provided.

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