Krewe of Vidal Parade kicks off Mardi Gras

Published 12:06 am Sunday, January 29, 2012

ROD GUAJARDO | The Natchez Democrat — Participants on the Krewe of Lake St. John float toss beads and candy Saturday afternoon during the Mardi Gras parade in Vidalia.

VIDALIA — It’s that time of year that seeing a house or vehicle in the Miss-Lou decked out in purple and gold probably doesn’t have anything to do with LSU — Mardi Gras. Saturday the Krewe of Vidal rolled through Vidalia with the first Mardi Gras parade of the season.

ROD GUAJARDO | The Natchez Democrat — Lawson Reys, 5, rides his miniature dirt bike down Carter Street Saturday afternoon during the Mardi Gras parade in Vidalia.

The weather was clear with a slight nip in the air, perfect for marching. Waiting for the parade to begin so he could roll with the big motorcycles, 5-year-old Lawson Reys idled his miniature dirt bike and mused about his past parade experiences.

Riding his bike in parades is fun, he said, but there’s one thing different from how he would do it.

ROD GUAJARDO | The Natchez Democrat — Betsi McGraw holds her son Jax as they wave to the Krewe of Vidal float to ask for beads and candy Saturday afternoon during the Mardi Gras parade in Vidalia.

“They make you go slow,” Reys said. “I like to go fast.”

When the parade started, it had everything one expects — dancing girls, colorful floats, campaigning politicians, antique muscle cars, four-wheelers, riders on horses and more.

Toward the end of the parade, a float blasting music and emceed by a man on roller skates had parade attendees and its occupants — respected senior members of the community — dancing in the streets.

But it wasn’t music or colorful float decorations that had 5-year-old Jasmine Alvira’s attention. It was candy and beads, and she darted back and forth from the curb to grab necklace after necklace.

ROD GUAJARDO | The Natchez Democrat — City employees and members of the community ride ATVs down Carter Street Saturday afternoon during the Mardi Gras parade in Vidalia.

If she had to choose between candy and beads, Alvira said she would take beads any day.

“I got a lot of beads,” she said. “I am going to take them home and hang them up.”

April Frith of Clayton said the group she came with also enjoyed themselves.

“The kids had fun, they waved, they danced,” she said.

“One guy who was on a motorcycle stopped to give candy to us.”

Tarmiko Graham of Port Gibson said she would only change one thing about the parade.

“It could have been longer, but otherwise it was very nice,” she said.