The Krewe of Janus (KOJ) is hosting its 37th annual Mardi Gras Parade this Saturday, February 15, at 6:00 p.m. The parade will begin on Antique Alley's Natchitoches Street in downtown West Monroe and will work its way through the Twin Cities to end at Oliver Road. This year's theme is 'The Magic of Fairytales'.
Earlier in the day, there will also be a chance to see two other parades sponsored by the Krewe. The Children's Parade will start at 10 a.m. in the Pecanland Mall parking lot, and the PAWs Pet Parade kicks off in downtown West Monroe at 1 p.m.
Over the years, the KOJ Mardi Gras Parade has earned recognition as one of the top 20 tourism events in the South with crowds reaching well over 100,000. Janet Breard, KOJ's historian and a former Mardi Gras queen, can still remember the group's first parade in 1984. She says, "When we started, it was just a little seed and now it has blossomed up to a tree. We'll continue doing this as long as we still have people able to do the work."
To keep the parade's traditions alive, the Krewe has started to get the youth involved with the organization. One of their younger participants, Mason Andrews, is a 19-year-old aviation student at Louisiana Tech who will serve as this year's Grand Marshal. He is best known for being the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the Earth solo.
Andrews says that he has already been making preparations for the parade on Saturday. "I've been promoting the parade and telling everyone to come out and join me. It all has been really fun and this is a great group to be working with."
As Grand Marshal, Mason Andrews will lead a total of six marching bands and at least twenty floats throughout the Twin Cities as they throw Mardi Gras beads, cups, and more to parade-goers. There will also be chances to experience and enjoy local food vendors and musical acts spread out along the parade's two-city route.
For more information about the KOJ Mardi Gras Parade, click here.