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Michael Deering dressed as Batman in Mardi Gras parade, 1999
Michael Deering brings Batman to life for parade on-lookers at the River City Mardi Gras, February 1999. Photo: Barbara Fielder

River City Mardi Gras

River City Mardi Gras' first-ever celebration was held in Paducah, February 5 and 6, 1999; its purpose was to provide a community celebration that would enhance downtown visibility and stimulate the growth of tourism. Several weeks prior to the start of the celebration, the first annual Mardi Gras window contest challenged downtown merchants and restaurants to create a beautiful and unique window display, using Mardi Gras colors of deep purple, bright green and gold. Other weekend events included local entertainment and a Mardi Gras Parade, based on the theme "Bright Star on the River," in which doubloons, beads, candy favors and moon pies were thrown from floats to the spectators along the parade route. There was also a full spectrum of children's activities, and a River City Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball, for which a King and Queen were selected. Based on the its first Paducah celebration which was inspired by the world-famous pre-Lenten event in New Orleans, Mardi Gras has definitely "moved up the river."

Originally submitted by: Ed Whitfield, Representative (1st District).



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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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