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Ready to be showered with beads?

NATCHEZ — The Miss-Lou riverside communities can expect showers this weekend — showers of beads, that is.

It’s that time of year, when Natchez and Vidalia masquerade themselves like New Orleans with purple, green and gold during annual Mardi Gras parades.

Local parade organizers said they are optimistic that the good times will roll this weekend, even with a chance of rain showers in the forecast.

The 37th Annual Krewe of Phoenix Mardi Gras Parade in Natchez begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday on North Broadway Street, where its traditional route will be reversed from previous years in order to provide a safer event with an easier flow of traffic, said parade organizer, Curtis Moroney.

From North Broadway, the parade will proceed up Franklin Street to Rankin Street, over to Main Street and down to Canal Street, where it will continue past Pig Out Inn, the Corner Bar, and Fat Mamas Tamales before turning in front of Rosalie back to Broadway Street.

Moroney said downtown travelers should avoid, driving and parking on Broadway Street Friday evening, because traffic will be congested.

“Floats will be lined up on both sides of Broadway,” he said. “It’ll be a big party downtown, for sure. … I think we will have a good crowd and several bands and dance groups.”Moroney said approximately 40 groups have registered to participate in the parade, including bands, dance groups and floats.

The following Saturday afternoon, Vidalia will host a second parade, which would be over in time to put the children to bed but provide enough Mardi Gras spirit for all ages, said parade organizer, Cassandra Lynch.

The eighth annual Krewe of Vidal Mardi Gras Parade begins at 3 p.m. Saturday and will follow its traditional route on Carter Street between Vidalia Upper Elementary School and Vidalia High School, Lynch said.

Lynch said Saturday’s parade would honor someone very special to her.

Lynch’s mother, Ellen Anderson, died last week at 83 years of old but attended every Krewe of Vidal Mardi Gras parade since Lynch founded it in 2011, Lynch said.

Lynch said Anderson would always smile proudly up at her from the sidelines when she passed by on the final float, saying, “That’s my daughter.”

The parade would go on this year, Lynch said, with her mother joining her in spirit.

However, to make it even more special, Lynch said she wants everyone in the Miss Lou to join the festivities, from Ferriday to Natchez and beyond.

“There’s still time left to join in the fun,” Lynch said of those who may want to march or create a float for the parade. “There is no registration fee.”

Registration will be available until the parade starts Saturday, Lynch said, and anyone who wishes to sign up to participate in the Krewe of Vidal parade may contact her at 318-518-7656 or the Vidalia Beautification Committee at 601-807-8260.

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