No parades will roll in the city of Mobile during Carnival season, Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s office confirmed in a statement Friday afternoon.
In a discussion with Mardi Gras organization leaders over possible alternative plans, Stimpson confirmed parades — a staple of Carnival festivities — would not take place before Ash Wednesday, when the season officially ends.
“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,” Stimpson said in the statement. “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.”
At this time, most organizations have outright canceled parade plans, and the few that haven’t did not file for parade permits by the Dec. 11 deadline.
Parades not happening won’t dampen the Carnival spirit, as a number of homes and neighborhoods plan to showcase Mardi Gras decorations on porches and balconies throughout the city.
The idea for a “porch parade” was hatched among a group of friends looking to try to keep the good times rolling despite the unusual circumstances surrounding the 2021 Carnival calendar. Stacy Wellborn, who created the porch parade Facebook page, said the effort is for “anyone and everyone” who wants to decorate for Mardi Gras.
“It really came together through a network of folks,” she said.
From shopping for smaller decorations at Toomey’s or Mardi Gras & More to incorporating bigger float pieces from local artists, Wellborn said the idea is to fill some of the void left by not having parades this year.
“We’re really trying to promote local businesses and local artists,” she said.
So far, 165 homes or addresses have been added through mobileporchparade.com, Wellborn said, and those interested in participating can register on the page by Feb. 1. Participants can be homeowners, renters, condo owners or business owners. On Feb. 1, the group will release a map of the registered addresses and create routes for self-guided tours, she said.
The page has several local vendors and artists listed. One of the float artists Wellborn mentioned is Craig Stephens, who has a warehouse full of small to larger float flourishes that can be purchased and placed on porches for the event.
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