Soon the Singing Brakeman Park on Front Street in Meridian will be jumping like New Orleans for Mardi Gras celebrations.
"We've got the parades, we've got live music, we've got a lot of the delicacies that you would normally only be able to get in New Orleans," Downtown Association Chairman Brandon Pratt said.
It's Meridian's edition of Mardi Gras, sponsored by the Downtown Association, and this is the first year it will take place at Singing Brakeman Park. In previous years Dumont Plaza has been the spot, but Chairman of the Downtown Association Brandon Pratt says members wanted to spice things up this year. Festivities will kick off Friday night, February 13th with a Crawfish Boil.
"The main thing we wanted to keep it affordable for everybody. The idea is that we have so much to offer here, we don't want everybody to travel to New Orleans because we think we can compete with the best things they have to offer," Pratt said.
In addition to the regular Mardi Gras parade, there will be a parade of dogs. Pratt says this is a quite big hit every year and spectators get a kick out of seeing the pets in costumes.
"We get, goodness, 50-60 people down with their dogs at least and it's fun for everybody cause you dress them up with all these great costumes and everybody seems to enjoy it," Pratt said.
But it wouldn't be a taste of New Orleans, without the gumbo cook-off, which is usually a fierce competition.
"Every year we get more competitors. We have 50 taste testers judging tickets. They tickets are available $6 a piece and you can come through and taste. I think we had seven teams last year and I think we are going to have close to 10 this year," Pratt said.
There's still time to register for the gumbo cook-off and to submit applications for the parade. Visit www.meridiandowntown.com for details.