Purple, gold and yellow appear in Downtown Mobile as Mardi Gras draws near

The celebrations have already started
Updated: Jan. 7, 2023 at 9:00 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The official day of Mardi Gras might not be until February, but for many in the Port City, the party has already started.

Purple, gold and yellow is taking over Downtown Mobile- a sure sign that Mardi Gras has made her annual stop.

For one store owner, the busyness is already ramping up.

“I think Mardi Gras has already started. The day Christmas was over, people started decorating. So they’re coming in and they’re decorating their trees, houses, we’re making wreaths-they’re buying them. We’re super excited and we’re getting new stuff daily,” said Cecily Utsey, Owner of Mardi Gras & More.

Joseph Votgner, a vendor at Urban Emporium, says his Mardi Gras merch is ready to go.

“We just printed one of our new ones-- the King Cake t-shirt today. But you know- obviously, Mardi Gras is a big thing in Mobile. We’re huge fans of it, so a good portion of our t-shirts have to do with Mardi Gras. Yeah- very excited for Mardi Gras. We have about a month to go or a couple weeks,” stated Votgner.

“You can now eat King Cake without getting arrested,” he laughed. “So get your King Cake and purple and gold out.”

For some, taking down Christmas decorations is a quick turn around. It’s instantly replaced with Mardi Gras decor.

“We’ve been decorating Mardi Gras all day this morning so we took a break. So we probably have glitter all over us. So we leave our Christmas trees up, change it into Mardi Gras- so we’ve had a great time today. Just took a break today to come out and see everybody else get in the Mardi Gras spirit,” said Larry Andrews.

Locals say it’s a deep-rooted tradition.

“Man, I’m so happy,” said Courtland Howze. “Everybody coming together- their families coming together, good food, moon pies, candies, beads and everything.”

“Normally we gather up like bags from our house and we come out here and we go to the parades for a really long time and it’s fun to go over the gates and pick up what’s left over afterwards. We normally go to a bunch of parades,” said Cheyanne Crumb.

Despite the enthusiasm, Saturday officially marks one week since the New Year’s Eve shooting on Dauphin Street that left one dead and nine injured.

Still, many folks say they don’t think the tragedy will hinder the Port City’s coveted holiday.

“It was definitely heartbreaking that that had to happen,” added Utsey. “But I have not seen it affect the traffic coming in and out of the store and I think it was handled very well by the police. Obviously, the police want to keep us all safe down here and there was a lot of heavy police traffic. I don’t expect it to affect Mardi Gras.”

“I think the crowds will come out and no- I don’t think that’ll affect it,” said Votgner.

“Everything is crazy that’s going around the world everywhere. We can’t let this stop us from coming out and having a good time but I’m definitely excited and hey-- let’s have fun,” concluded Howze.

The Conde Cavaliers are set to kick off Mardi Gras in Mobile on February 3. ‘Fat Tuesday’ falls on February 21.

Mobile celebrates long before February 21. Click here for a list of Mardi Gras events.

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