The Mardi Gras celebration began on Saturday, with folks awaiting the themed parade in downtown Waxahachie.
From beads to costumes, people celebrated the Mardi Gras in full spirit. Sitting in chairs and in the beds of trucks, families and friends made themselves comfortable before the 3 p.m start.
Channel Williams, known as “Coco," is a bartender at Big Al’s Down The Hatch. She helped build the restaurant’s float for the parade, adding the touch of green, gold and purple all around.
“We love being a part of the community down here,” Williams shared. “I just like Mardi Gras. I’m just a festivity person, so I like being around all that.”
Despite this being the parade's return after several years, visitors came from outside of Waxahachie.
Marilyn Stone, from Fort Worth, attended the parade. This was her first time attending the parade, but she said she likes to celebrate the day.
“Yes, I try to [celebrate]. This is really the only year I’ve done it,” Stone said. “I decorate the [Christmas] tree at home with Mardi Gras lights.”
DJ Diggy Dutch set the tone for the parade. He played New Orleans-themed music in honor of the celebration.
Parade participants smiled as they threw beads of many colors. Children and adults gathered to grab the various beads and some were lucky enough to pocket coupons from different restaurants.
In addition to the floats, there were cyclists dressed in green and purple, and other participants on foot twirling and dancing, some in costumes with their faces painted, fully taking on the holiday spirit.
Lin Putnam, founder of the Wacky Women group, came out to celebrate with her friends.
“I moved here from Colorado, where we had Mardi Gras there..and when I came here there wasn’t a celebration,” Putnam shared. “When they kicked it off this year again, I said ‘OK girls come on we gotta go down there and support this’.”
Wally Mendez, the city’s Downtown Research Coordinator, said there were 15 parade entries.
“I think it [the parade] was very successful for the first year. I think it could grow bigger and bigger,” Mendez said.
The celebration didn’t end after the parade. Instead, people filled bars along the square, taking advantage of drink specials.
Almost 200 participated in the Craft Beer and Bead Sip-N-Stroll. They went from restaurant to restaurant, sampling beer and receiving colorful beads, from participating downtown merchants.
In the evening, the Zydeco band Keyun and the Zydeco Masters played tunes for the small crowd gathered at the new amphitheater in Railyard Park.
People in the front danced to the rhythm, sharing the uniqueness of Zydeco dancing. Children ran around, while many enjoyed the night out with their family, swaying their bodies to the music.
Jeff and SueEllen Smith sat side by side, listening to the band.
“I enjoy listening to Zydeco music,” SueEllen said. “We like to support anything Waxahachie does.”
The band played until 8 p.m., ending the Mardi Gras festivities in the city.
Amber Caverly, who is a part of the Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association, said that the city is already talking about next year’s celebration.