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Mardi Gras parade, annual gumbo cookoff canceled due to COVID concerns

Mardi Gras events in downtown Vicksburg have become a tradition, but they will not be held in 2021.

Downtown Vicksburg, which organizes the annual downtown Mardi Gras parade, and the Vicksburg Foundations for Historic Preservation, which organizes the annual Carnaval De Mardi Gras and Gumbo Cookoff, have announced that both events have been canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the events had been scheduled for Feb. 13.

“We are so disappointed that because of the pandemic, we have to cancel the 2021 Carnaval De Mardi Gras and Gumbo Cookoff, executive director of the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation Nancy Bell said. “It is simply not safe, or within the city’s guidelines to hold an event with 2,000 people regardless of the fact that it is held outdoors.”

The Carnaval De Mardi Gras and Gumbo Cookoff draws huge crowds to the block of Crawford Street near the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation and serves as a fundraiser for the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation. In February 2020, the event raised $16,000.

Bell said she is not sure how they will be able to recoup that amount for the budget.

As for the parade, Main Street Downtown Vicksburg Executive Director Kim Hopkins said the parade, which would have rolled through downtown Vicksburg hours before the gumbo cookoff, was called off because of the crowds the event draws and not being able to host in a way that would meet city and state guidelines.

“There really is no way to have the parade safely,” Hopkins said. “We needed to cancel the parade due to the health and safety of the volunteers, crews and spectators due to COVID. We just did not see where we could have it.”

Hopkins said Downtown Vicksburg Main Street’s board of directors are meeting on Jan. 21, where the staff will present plans for a number of COVID-safe events that will celebrate Mardi Gras and support businesses downtown.

Hopkins said those events will be announced following the board’s meeting.

“We do plan on celebrating Mardi Gras in several different ways. We are planning a number of activities and festivities downtown that will be COVID-safe,” she said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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