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March 2, 2014

Norman Mardi Gras Parade revelers brave cold weather for Main Street celebration

NORMAN — Glittering beads and candy flew through the cold, night air Saturday as friends and families lined the streets downtown for Norman’s 20th Annual Mardi Gras Parade.

As segments of Beatles’ songs rang through a crowded Main Street, the theme for the parade, “Come Together! Que l’on se Rassemble!”, was apparent. Spectators also were treated to marching bands playing the same style of music that can be heard daily on the streets of New Orleans.

Norman resident Shea McConnell said she enjoyed The Beatles theme. It was her first year attending the parade.

“Despite the weather I’m glad this many people came out,” McConnell said. “I didn’t know it was this big of a deal in Norman.”

Other spectators who have been to previous Mardi Gras parades in Norman said it is a great family event. Krissy Shadaram said it’s fun for the kids, while Michelle Moorhead chimed in the kids absolutely love the beads.

“It’s become kind of a family tradition,” added Kimberly Wainner.

Norman Police patrolled the event Saturday. MPO Marcus Smallwood said the parade went really well and there were no incidents.

“I’m really proud of the Norman community,” Smallwood said. “Everyone seemed really happy.”

Smallwood said they did make some changes this year, including adding some traffic cones and caution tape in areas so people know where not to go, especially with excited children going after beads or candy.

The crowd was about the equivalent of last year’s parade so it was definitely worth the city’s, county’s and local businesses’ resources, he said. The weather last year was also similar to this year’s, being a little on the chilly side.

“It seemed like it was an enthusiastic crowd,” said Kris Ocker, Queen of Harts Costume and Dancewear owner. “It was our first (time participating in the parade), but it will not be our last.”

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