LAKE ARTHUR — Lake Arthur is once again bringing the spirit and traditions of a rural Mardi Gras to life Saturday as the 21st annual Lake Arthur Mardi Gras Run and Parade rolls into town.
Parade organizer Angela Landry said the event is a favorite among those looking for a traditional, family-friendly Mardi Gras.
"This is our way of keeping traditions alive," Landry said. "My parents started this 21 years ago and we are still carrying on the tradition. It's our way of teaching others about our Cajun heritage."
The event will feature chasing of the chickens, costumed revelers, colorful floats, horseback riders, music and more.
Kurt Viator, who helps organize the chicken run, said the celebration is about keeping traditions alive and passing them on to future generations.
"I've been doing this for five or six years now and now my grandchildren are of age to join us," Viator said.
The run is open to children age 12 and older.
Special chicken throws for children are planned along the run with one throw on Andrus Cove Cemetery Road and one throw on Trailer Town Road. Additional chicken throws will be held at the small baseball field next to the Lake Arthur Park after the parade. Prizes will be awarded.
The celebration kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday when members of the Basile Mardi Gras Association come to town to demonstrate an old time Mardi Gras chicken throw and dance performance in front of Charlie's Place, 119 Arthur Ave.
The fun continues Saturday as revelers on horseback and a caravan of decorated floats and wagons carry on the age old tradition of the Courir de Mardi Gras.
The run is followed by a parade downtown and more chicken throws in the park.
Registration for floats begin at 8 a.m. at the Lake Arthur Park. Horse owners and wagons will register and line-up at the Monlezun boat dock on New Orleans Street.
There is no entry fee for the run or parade, but registration is required.
The run begins at 9 a.m. at the Lake Arthur Park where revelers will gather to begin a nine-mile jaunt through the countryside, stopping at designated stops to dance and chase chickens.
The group will return to town to join the parade at 2:30 p.m.
"Everyone just likes riding around the countryside and visiting with each other," Viator said. "They all enjoy having a good time and meeting people."
Last year's run was attended by visitors from France and one lady from Bridge City, Texas attends every year, he said.
The parade will line-up at 1:30 p.m. on Seventh Street near Nott's Corner Restaurant and travel down Arthur Avenue toward the park where chicken throws will follow the parade.
Last year's parade drew nearly 70 floats consisting of 18-wheelers, gooseneck trailers, pull trailers and converted buses. More than 60 horses and wagons also participated.
Cash prizes will be awarded to the best decorated float and krewe in four categories.
The parade will also feature plenty of beads, cups, doubloons, candy, stuffed animals, toys, t-shirts and other throws.
For more information on the parade contact Landry at 337-368-6848. For information on the run contact Viator at 337-658-9153 or Rachel Viator at 337-224-6632.
Registration forms and rules are also available at Lake Arthur Town Hall.