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Beads and sweets at Fayetteville Mardi Gras Parade

No revelers at the Fayetteville Mardi Gras parade, but hundreds of beads and sweets for equal number of children and adults who lined Dickson Street under chilly temperatures on a windy and sunshine-filled Saturday.

Floats from local restaurants and groups from nonprofit organizations such as Fayetteville Animal Services began rolling along the parade route at 2 p.m.

"It's getting better every year, it's becoming like the parade in New Orleans and I appreciate Fayetteville for creating this kind of activities in downtown," said Bob Besom, 63, from Fayetteville.

He said more people are coming to the parade and the effort of the city of to create density in downtown it has had good results.

The weather forecast was for clear skies and highs near 40 degrees for the Mardi Gras celebrations, but a warm front will bring rain for Tuesday and higher temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees.

The parade attracted mainly families. Betty Yates from Springdale, who came with her five-year-old niece, Raigan Meyers from Missouri, said it's her first Mardi Gras parade.

Raigan joined the cheerful crowd, who dance, jumped and grabbed beads and sweets from each other during the celebration.

This year, the organizers also feature the "world's largest king cake" after the parade, a 200-foot-long cake on the Fayetteville Square.

Rick's Bakery sponsored the giant purple, green and gold Mardi Gras cake.

Jerry Kidd from KMCK radio in Fayetteville said this is the second year the station, together with Rick's Bakery, organized the King cake.

"We expect to break the Guinness record," said Kidd.

Anita Cowan from Rick's Bakery said that last year they sold 1,200 slices and this year they were expecting to sell 1,500 slices to benefit Seven Hills Homeless Center.

The celebration of Mardi Gras is the culmination of the winter carnival season and is traditionally held the last day before lent.

The area's Mardi Gras celebrations began Saturday with the grand Parade of Fools on Dickson Street.

On Tuesday the new king and queen will be crowned outside Jose's Streetside on Dickson Street.

In traditional New Orleans parades and funerals, there is a procession of dignitaries and musicians followed by revelers and dancers.

Source: Springdale Morning News

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