Mardi Gras

Revelers in downtown Laurel, including the occupants of the Magnolia State Bank float, braved cold and rainy conditions last year for the city’s annual Mardi Gras parade. On Saturday, Ellisville will host its first Mardi Gras parade. (LL-C file photo by Mark Thornton)

City’s first family-friendly downtown Mardi Gras parade Saturday at 6 p.m.

The City of Ellisville is getting into the Mardi Gras spirit with its first Mardi Gras parade through the streets of downtown.

The family-friendly event is scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. and will follow the traditional parade route through Ellisville — Front Street from near Jones College into downtown, then back up Court Street toward the college.

“We like to say that we are a small town with big plans,” said Rita Sumrall, who, along with her husband Chris are leading the effort for the first parade. The downtown Merchants Association and city leaders have also been instrumental, she said.

The parade this year has no entry fee and Sumrall said she is expecting antique cars, motorcycles and even an airboat to participate in the parade. Sumrall also said revelers should expect some exciting throws.

“We want to get people to downtown to see what we have to offer,” said Sumrall, who owns R&A’s French Quarter Grill in downtown.

Participants can still enter the parade by calling Rita Sumrall at 601-477-2246 or Chris Sumrall at 601-428-4724.

“It will be family-friendly — that is one of the requirements,” she said.

The downtown merchants also hosted the city’s first downtown trunk-or-treat in October and it was a rousing success, Rita Sumrall said.

The parade will be the first of two scheduled for Jones County in celebration of the event made famous in the cities of New Orleans and Mobile, Ala.

Mardi Gras day is Tuesday, March 5, and parades throughout the Southeast have been and will be rolling up until then.

For the third straight year, the Laurel chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police will host its Mardi Gras parade in downtown Laurel. The parade is scheduled for Saturday, March 2, at 6 p.m. and will follow the traditional parade route through downtown, beginning at Sawmill Square Mall before traveling up N0rth Magnolia Street.

Entry fee is $100 per judged float and $50 for a general entry fee. Applications can be picked up at Laurel police headquarters at 318 S. Magnolia St. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 28.

All proceeds will benefit charitable work by the Laurel FOP lodge, including the annual Shop with a Cop program at Christmas.

Sponsorships are available. For information, contact Lt. Jim Thornhill at 601-498-8088 or email him at

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