MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -- Of course we already knew it, but now it's official. Mayor Sandy Stimpson saying there won't be any Mardi Gras parades this year ahead of Ash Wednesday.
Mayor Stimpson making that announcement in a conference call Thursday with City leaders and representatives with the Port City's Mardi Gras societies.
While COVID-19 may have technically shut down the good times from rolling -- there's an effort to keep the spirit of the season alive.
FOX 10's George Criminale -- a master float builder -- was among those on the conference call with the City.
"The City is trying to have something Mardi Gras-ish -- maybe to get people a little bit in the spirit of whatever. They were asking for more suggestions and input and all for alternatives," said Criminale.
Despite the overwhelming challenges Mayor Stimpson released this statement:
“One of the main topics covered in our call with local carnival associations was ways we can celebrate Mardi Gras in Mobile while mitigating the spread COVID-19,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “At this point, we are still working with those organizations and other community groups to come up with some safer alternatives. Mardi Gras is a holiday and its significance to our citizens and our City’s identity can’t be overstated. We will continue to look for ways to balance these important traditions and the health of our citizens and City employees.”
And while there won't be any throws this Mardi Gras season -- one of the suggestions on Thursday's call -- was for each society to have a float periodically parked along the parade route -- to encourage people to come out and support businesses who need it most.
"First and foremost what we want to see is responsibility -- that's the big thing right now," said LoDa Bier Garten Owner Matt Golden. "But as Mobilians our slogan is 'We are born to Celebrate' -- so finding some safe way to do that is key."
Golden says business has been slow with the recent spike in COVID cases. Now with no parades -- and potentially losing out on hundreds of thousands of visitors and the millions of dollars they would spend -- Golden and other business owners are open for any safe alternative.
"What's interesting -- and my wife actually pointed this out. COVID is here and they didn't cancel thanksgiving. We got creative. Didn't cancel Christmas -- we got creative. The parades are cancelled, the balls are cancelled... But it's a season of celebration -- so yes, as Mobilians we are going to come up with a creative way to safely and responsibly celebrate Mardi Gras," said Golden.
And those creative alternatives -- need to come rolling in. As of tomorrow -- Fat Tuesday is one month away. In the meantime, Golden encourages people to support local -- whether it be take out or gift cards to keep the dollars local.