Mardi Gras parade set

Members of the Magnolia Beautification Committee toss beads from a float as they make their way down Highway 51 during the town’s Mardi Gras parade last year.

It’s Carnival season  and Magnolia local officials are putting the finishing touches in place for the city’s annual celebration.

Aldermen voted to close off the downtown square for the city’s Mardi Gras parade Feb. 22. Officials will block off East Railroad Avenue North between Magnolia and East Bay streets from 5 p.m. Feb. 21 until 11 p.m. the next day.

Visitors are expected to turn out for food, live music at City Hall and appearances by the Alcorn State University Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite and Mardi Gras Indians from New Orleans.

The parade will begin 10 a.m. at Eva Gordon Elementary School and make its way south on Highway 51 toward downtown.

The Alcorn State University band performs at the annual parade and in return the city pledges a $3,000 band scholarship for a student from Magnolia to attend the university.

Mayor Anthony Witherspoon said the celebration attracted so many visitors last year, many food vendors ran out of goods.

He said this year a large crowd is anticipated and food for the event was planned accordingly.

“We’re going to have a diverse variety of live music this year,” Witherspoon said. “From blues to R&B and country and a lot more.”

New this year will be a Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball, held for adults at the Pike County Multipurpose Complex on Quinlivan Road at 7 p.m. Feb. 21. Tickets are $25 and attendees must be at least 21 years old.

Tables for eight people can be reserved for $200. The event is BYOB and the dress code is semi-formal.

All proceeds will go to the City of Magnolia Culture and Recreation Department to support future cultural and artistic events in the city, Witherspoon said.

“It’s one way we can raise funds for the city without having to raise taxes,” he said.

For tickets, call Ericka Brumfield at city hall at (601) 783-5211,  Assistant Police Chief Sonya Woodall at (601) 783-9926 or Trideana Lenard at Magnolia Municipal Court, (601) 783-5233.

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