ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The annual Mardi Gras parade and activities takes place this weekend in Soulard – a tradition that’s been happening for close to four decades.
This year’s theme is “Soulard Celebrates Cinema” because the Academy Awards are coming up. There will be more music this year and even more sunshine than normal.
President of the Mardi Gras Foundation Mack Bradley told KMOX’s Mark Reardon the weather is helping the event get bigger and bigger every year.
“Weather has a lot to do with it and just tradition, now, has a lot to do with so much of this,” Bradley says. “Families come down every year … so the tradition of it just seems to grow overtime.”
For over 38 years, Mardi Gras in Soulard has generated around $23 million for the local economy every year — roughly the same benefit St. Louis sees from the World Series, Bradley says.
The Grand Parade is the biggest one day event in St. Louis all year, and it’s second only to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras parade.
More than 3,000 people will be riding or walking the parade Saturday morning, starting at 11 a.m.
Bradley says the best advice he has is to not bring your car. He encourages people to take a cab, the Metro or ride your bike if possible.
Several road and interstates in the area will be closed. Eastbound Interstate 64 will close at 6th Street at 6 a.m. Interstate 55 will be closed both north and southbound in multiple areas.
A map of all closures can be found at the official Mardi Gras website – STLMardiGras.org.
As we continue gear up for Mardi Gras celebrations, St. Louis police want you to know they will be out in full force.
Police Chief Sam Dotson says officers will be in both uniform and plain clothes looking for underage drinkers. They will also be out with building inspectors looking for anyone violating building codes.
“Roofs and balconies were only designed to hold so many people,” Dotson says. “If we see a deck party that is overloading that deck, we are going to intervene.”
For more information on Mardi Gras activities, click here.