The downtown square was filled with vibrant music, bright colors and funny hats of all shapes and sizes on Saturday afternoon as Waxahachie celebrated Marti Gras. In its sixth year people lined the street and were not disappointed as the parade passed by.

“It’s not my first time to be at the Mardi Gras parade. I saw a lot of them in New Orleans when I was in college,” Maypearl resident Heb Rutherford said.

“When I told my son, Sam, that we were going to the parade on Thursday he just could not wait for the day to come. The weather today is just great for a father and son activity. I just wish more and more people would come down to activities like this to support the downtown,” he said.

As the floats of carrying people dressed in brightly colored costumes passed by shouts of “beads” or “candy” could be heard from children that lined the streets. There were plenty of sights for everyone to enjoy. From the French soldiers carrying pikes to jesters waving at the crowd to a group of guys dressed as a large lobster chasing a rubber chicken on a string it gave everyone something to laugh about and smile.

Kim Huff came from Midlothian to enjoy the afternoon’s activities with her children.

“They have read about a lot of the different things that happen in this celebration that are associated with Mardi Gras at school, like why people eat king cake,” Huff said.

“One of the reasons why I brought them here today is to show them how other people celebrate their different traditions. But the main thing that I’m looking forward to seeing them have a good time,” she said.

Saturday’s parade started on Rogers Street, circled the square and ended on College. At the head of the parade was the Waxahachie Mayor Ron Wilkinson, who was adorned with a purple papal-looking hat and tossed beads to the crowd out of an open convertible.

“It feels fantastic to be leading the parade and it is such a beautiful day to have one. I have been in many a parade but this is the first time that I have been the grand marshal,” Wilkinson said.

“I think that it’s a great day for family to come and have a good time – this celebration is geared toward the whole family. It is also good to see the large number of people here today supporting community events like this,” he said.

Organizing the parade for its sixth year for in a row was the owner and operator of College Street Pub, Wayne Strickland. The biggest change to this year’s parade was the addition of 10 to 12 more floats, a bounce house for children and more beads to throw to people on the street.

“I think this is the best year that we have had and it’s our best turnout so far since we have started. The weather has turned out great. The Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association was generous enough to provide us with some money for the cause and we spent every bit of that on beads,” Strickland said.

“We hope that everybody had a really good time and caught a lot of beads. The goal is to have family come down and bring their families,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the entire day. I think the only thing we will do differently for next year is to buy more beads.”

E-mail Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com