The streets of downtown Texarkana were filled Saturday with carnival-goers reveling in the purple, gold and green of the Twin Cities' sixth annual Mardi Gras parade.
With a theme of "All That Jazz," the parade had more than 60 entries, including those featuring both Texarkanas' mayors, dance groups and area politicians vying for public seats in the May election.
The event offered live music, a poetry reading, carnival rides—including a purple, gold and green Ferris wheel—virtual video games and classic carnival games with Mardi Gras-themed stuffed animals as prizes.
A variety of goods was available from vendors, including Evelyn Crain, who was selling Scentsy products. She said she's been selling the wax scents and warmers since September and was seeing a significant amount of foot traffic at the celebration, which lasted into late afternoon.
"It's going good, and I'm getting my name out there, and that's what matters," she said. "It's my first time doing Mardi Gras. I'm enjoying it."
Crain said that even though she wasn't selling a whole lot of product, important vendor work was getting done.
"It's not always about the sales of the day," she said. "It's about building that relationship with the individual."
Delores Gipson of Gipson Sweet Shoppe said her brownies and candy covered apples and pretzels weren't flying off the table but that she was still selling a few items.
"It has been OK, but it hasn't been what I expected," she said. "I heard a lot of vendors say last year and the year before, it was pretty good."
Some of that could be attributed to Saturday's weather, she added, since it was a bit chilly and rainy. The Jackson, Miss.-based company decided to give the event a try for the first time this year after reading about it on Facebook.
"We're a mobile company, and we go to different places, and we decided to try it out," she said.
Brittany Hoskins with Lagniappe Specialty Meats was selling iconic Mardi Gras cuisine—king cakes. For those who don't know, they are round, bread-like concoctions filled with strawberries, cream cheese, pecan pralines and chocolate and are topped with a thin white icing or glaze and purple, gold and green sugar crystals. Each one has a tiny nude baby, and tradition calls for whoever gets the baby in their slice to bring the king cake to the following year's Mardi Gras celebration.
Hoskins said they were selling a few of the cakes, which they had shipped in from Lafayette, La., the heart of Cajun country. She added that they would still have them at their shop through Tuesday, along with other authentic Cajun dishes.
"We still have lots of crawfish from Lafayette," she said. "Come see us for real Cajun food."
The shop is at 4012 Jefferson Ave., Texarkana, Ark.