Mardi Gras Vicksburg Style!  Let the Good Times Roll!

Bill Seratt

February 7

It seems that Vicksburg is about the northern most point in Mississippi where there is a vibrant celebration of Mardi Gras. Although we are just a few hours, about 200 miles, north of New Orleans there just isn’t much celebration north of here. Across the I-20 corridor to our west there are large celebrations throughout northern Louisiana.  Mardi Gras officially begins on the day after the Epiphany or King’s Day, traditionally January 6th and culminates on the day before Ash Wednesday – Fat Tuesday.  Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.  For many the celebration of Mardi Gras is not just the day, but all the days between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday.

The celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is legendary.  Other celebrations along the Gulf Coast and throughout Mississippi and Louisiana are much calmer and family oriented.  For many, the celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a bucket list kind of thing.  Everybody should experience it at least once!  Vicksburg’s celebration of Mardi Gras has grown to be one of historic downtown Vicksburg’s largest events.  Get ready to grab some beads and have some fun!

The Mardi Gras festivities make a grand entrance with the River Revelers Masked Ball on Saturday, February 3rd, at 7:00 p.m. with cocktails and dinner.  Black-ties for the guys and high cocktail attire for the ladies!  Enjoy a scrumptious dinner and dance the night way to the sounds of Dreamer.  This evening of mystery and fantasy will be highlighted by the crowning of the Queen and King of the River Reveler’s Masked Ball.  The newly crowned royalty will reign over the 17th Annual Vicksburg Downtown Mardi Gras Parade the following Saturday, February 10th.  Oh, and don’t forget to wear your favorite mask! 

Speaking of masks, the Southern Cultural Heritage Center will present a Mardi Gras mask making workshop for children on Friday, February 9th, from 3:45 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.  The cost is $10 per child.  The kids will love wearing their masks to the Mardi Gras activities. 

Join the bead-hungry crowd along Washington Street on Saturday, February 12th, for the 17th Annual Downtown Mardi Gras Parade.  The fun begins at 5:30 p.m. with lots of great floats and, of course, lots of Mardi Gras swag.  The parade begins at Belmont Street and runs north to Jackson Street.  Arrive early to stake out your favorite location.  Perhaps you will find one that serves your favorite beverages.  There is still time to register your krewe! 

Immediately following the parade head over to the 7th Annual Carnaval de Mardi Gras & Gumbo Cook-Off at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center presented by the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation (VFHP) from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. Many teams will compete for bragging rights and trophies.  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.  There will be lots of activities for children and great live music.  Advance tickets can be purchased at the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum on Washington Street.  It’s a street party so wear your dancing shoes. 

Laissez le bon temps rouler!  Let the good times roll in Vicksburg:  The Key to the South.