Perhaps a thousand people lined Millbrook’s Main Street on Saturday for the city’s Mardi Gras festival and parade hosted by the Millbrook Revelers. The event was a success despite the day being soggy and rainy.
Millbrook is likely the only city in the southeast that continued on with Mardi Gras plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Celebrations were canceled in Wetumpka, Mobile and throughout Louisiana.
Charles Oden, a member of the Revelers and chairman of the festival committee, said group decided not to cancel their event because they felt it could be done in a safe way.
“There was a Christmas parade in Millbrook and we decided to see how that went and if there’d be any problems afterward,” Oden said. “There were no real issues that arose after the Christmas parade so we decided not to cancel Mardi Gras. It’s outdoors and there’s plenty of space to distance. We felt we could do this safely.”
The Revelers had signs posted reminding guests to remain socially distanced. Guests were also asked to wear face masks.
Oden said there were about 40 vendors present at the festival, about half of the number of vendors at last year’s event. Having fewer vendors allowed for more spacing between the vendor booths and carnival rides.
Those who attended the event had a wide variety of food choices to pick from, including fried alligator, barbeque, Philly cheesesteaks, kettle corn, honey/honey products, and even Girl Scouts cookies. Musical entertainment was provided by vocalist Beth Cooper and guitarist Kurt McKinney from 9 a.m. to noon.
During the parade, people on decadently decorated parade floats threw beads, Moon Pies and candy out to hundreds of parade goers.
“This is just a great place to come and try new foods, check out some interesting vendors and have a great time at the parade,” Oden said.
Jason Driggers attended the event with his fiance, his daughter and his future stepdaughter. He said their family hadn’t attended a fun event since Millbrook’s tree lighting in December.
“The kids were itching to get out of the house and they wanted to ride the rides and have a good time,” Driggers said.
Before the parade started, the family enjoyed tasting products from one of the honey vendors and the hand-squeezed lemonade. Driggers said he also planned to try some polish sausage before he left the event.
“It’s just a great event for kids and adults too,” he said.