“We’re going to roll with Mardi Gras,” Alexandria parades to ride as scheduled amid COVID concerns
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The City of Alexandria will be letting the good times roll this year as Mardi Gras parades are still scheduled to ride in the city for the first time in two years.
“As of right now, we are going to roll with Mardi Gras,” said Chris Chelette, the President of the Alexandria Mardi Gras Association. “I think everyone is ready for it.”
Chelette said while the parades will still roll through the city, several crews will not be riding this year due to the rising concern in COVID-19 cases. For the crews that will load up the floats with beads and toys, they will have to wear masks and social distance while on the parade route.
For the families attending the parade, Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall said they will not require people to wear masks, but still wants everyone that plans on going out to protect themselves.
“There has been no mandate offered, suggested or even mentioned at this time,” said Mayor Hall. “Social distancing and masking are still essential and making sure that people get vaccinated.”
Parades in the city will roll February 25-27, the weekend before Mardi Gras Day.
The Friday and Saturday morning parades will still run in downtown Alexandria, and Sunday’s crew parade will start its normal route at Alexandria Middle Magnet and end near Sam’s.
Carnival season is normally the biggest tourist attraction in Alexandria, bringing in a combined total of more than 200,000 people to the streets to watch the weekend parades. Chelette said he’s expecting this year’s numbers to be between 12-20 percent less than years prior but is still looking forward to people from across the country coming out.
“We have the different festivals like River Fete and Winter Fete, but Mardi Gras has always been the biggest festival for Alexandria in that we bring in every demographic and age group together at one time,” said Chelette.
Chelette also confirmed that current NFL player and Buffalo Bills Defensive Lineman Ed Oliver will be the Grand Marshal for the Sunday crew parade that will roll on February 27.
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