“Pirates of the Coosa” was this year’s theme to the Order of Cimarron’s Mardi Gras celebration this season. Thousands of people as well as order members were decked out in their best pirate regalia Saturday afternoon. Photo by David D. Goodwin
“Pirates of the Coosa” was this year’s theme to the Order of Cimarron’s Mardi Gras celebration this season. Thousands of people as well as order members were decked out in their best pirate regalia Saturday afternoon. Photo by David D. Goodwin

OOC’s Mardi Gras parade continues to grow

Published 6:30pm Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cory Shaw was a happy man late Saturday afternoon. After months of planning and weeks of sometimes frantic work, the Order of Cimarrón’s second annual Mardi Gras parade and festival in Wetumpka went as smoothly as possible for such a large undertaking.

“The weather was perfect for us again this year,” he said. “The people lining the parade route were smiling, we had lots of good floats and other parade entries and several of our food vendors completely sold out.”

Shaw said this year’s event was larger than the previous year’s with “more than triple the vendors” plus musical entertainment on stage in Gold Star Park and children’s activities like pony rides and inflatables also in the park.

“We appreciate everyone who participated in any way, but especially thank the city for allowing us to hold this event and Mayor Jerry Willis for serving as our parade marshal,” said Shaw.

“I had a good time,” said Willis. “It was really a lot of fun.”

Several thousand attendees flocked to downtown Wetumpka to catch handfuls of beads, Moon Pies, toys and other “throws.” Many of the spectators were decked out in festive Mardi Gras attire.

“Our family had a great time,” said Kory Stottler of Greenville. “The riverside park was perfect for pre-parade activity. The group’s hard work is really appreciated by all.”

Stottler’s stepdaughter, Amy Hallford, agreed.

“It was an awesome day,” she said. “I have to say Wetumpka is a beautiful place. We watched speed boats go down the river, the kids rode ponies and we took in a great Mardi Gras parade.”

Closer to home, Wetumpka native Clay Murrell said he also enjoyed the experienced.

“It was a great job by all involved,” he said. “And Cimarrón’s float was the best looking one I’ve seen in a Wetumpka parade in all my years.”

Jen Bravata said next year’s parade date is already circled. The Order plans to again hold its event the Saturday before Fat Tuesday, which will be Feb. 14 next year.

“Being from Louisiana we definitely had a great time,” said Bravata. “It was our first time going and we will go next year.”

Shaw said plans for next year’s parade will begin to be discussed within the next couple of weeks.

“We have a good group and I know we want to add things to make it better every time,” he said.

While the group’s top priority is to host an event that will  entertain residents and bring visitors to the city, members are also involved in other activities.

Their next project is participation in Wetumpka’s Relay for Life, scheduled for April 26 this year.

“Our main goal is to do good works in our community,” said Shaw.

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