GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) - The Gulf Shores Mardi Gras parade rolled at 10 a.m. Tuesday under threatening skies. Despite the threat of rain, tens of thousands of revelers lined Highway 59 to catch their share of loot.
The Gulf Shores Dolphins Marching Band led the floats from the starting line. Rain threatened throughout the morning, but held off for the most part letting parade-goers enjoy what they came for.
"The fun and the party," Dutchin Cain from Indiana put simply.
Nowhere but a Mardi Gras parade will you find such a mix of people and Gulf Shores offers quite a variety of characters. Snowbirds mix with locals. Families bring their kids and pets and everyone gets along.
"It's much smaller here so we enjoy it," said Melisa Michalski of Gulf Shores. "It's a little bit easier for the kids…to get the kids out and about plus we don't have such a big drive."
"I love being in something like this where there are people here that are enjoying something and it's a fun thing and I'm going to try and get as many beads as I can," said Barbara Helgesen of Wisconsin.
Smiles and cheers spread throughout the crowd and the throws kept coming, but as another Mardi Gras came to a close in Gulf Shores, some folks were already making plans for next year.
"It's not what you know but who you know," laughed one reveler clutching hands full of beads, cups and a rubber ball. "I sell them back to my friends for next year."
The parade went from the foot of the intercoastal waterway bridge all the way down Highway 59 to the Beach Highway. From there, the floats headed to Orange Beach for their big parade.
The Orange Beach parade stepped their start time up by 30 minutes, starting at 1:30. That procession started in front of Wintzell's Oyster House on Perdido Beach Blvd. Being an afternoon parade, there's plenty of time for groups to gather and get their grills going. One big group of friends have been gathering at the same spot for six years. On their menu was chicken, hamburgers, pork chops and sausage…a little something for everybody.
The rain held off long enough for all of the floats to get off the starting line, but by 2:15 heavy rains began to fall chasing a lot of folks to the shelter of their cars. But not before everyone was able to get their hands on some good throws.
The Annual Fairhope Christmas Parade was held Friday night and the warm weather did not stop the atmosphere from feeling like Christmas.
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