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The celebration of Mardi Gras returns to downtown Waxahachie in February will all of its pomp and circumstance. Events start with a pub crawl Friday, Feb. 21, followed by a Mardi Gras parade, concert and beer sip ’n stroll Saturday, Feb. 22.

Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association President Amber Caverly said the Mardi Gras celebration was hosted for years by Wayne Strickland at College Street Pub. This year, WDMA decided to revive the tradition – and make it bigger and better.

“With the opening of Railyard Park amphitheater, it just gave us the perfect opportunity for a soft opening with a great band from Louisiana,” Caverly said. “We brought in the Rotary Club so we could give back to the community.

“The sip ’n stroll is a fundraiser for the downtown merchants so that we can keep improving and giving back to the community,” she said.

The Friday night, Feb. 21, downtown pub crawl is free and open to the public to take part in, with Caverly saying that a list of the participating restaurants and bars and the specials they will be offering will be listed on the WDMA’s Facebook page and social media sites.

Events on Saturday, Feb. 22, start with live entertainment by DJ Diggy Dutch, who will perform from 2-6 p.m. on the downtown square. At the same time, the first Beads and Beer Sip ’N Stroll will take place.

Tickets for the stroll are limited and can be purchased online for $25 on the WDMA website, www.downtownwaxahachie.com. Before going on the stroll, participants have to check-in at the Ellis County Museum, 201 S. College St. People participating in the stroll must be 21 years old or older.

In past sip ’n stroll events, the WDMA has seen as many as 400 people participate.

“At 3 p.m., we will be having a Waxahachie Rotary Club parade,” Caverly said. “It starts up at Citizens National Bank and goes down to Fresh Market. It then makes the corner around Railyard Park and goes north on College Street to College Street Pub (210 N. College St.), where it ends.

“Those entries can contact the Rotary Club or College Street Pub for applications and information,” she said. “The fee for parade entries is $25.”

Twenty dollars of that $25 will go to the Rotary Scholarship Fund, with the remaining $5 covering the cost of supplies and advertising incurred by the WDMA. The parade is free for the public to attend and enjoy, Caverly said.

The free concert, Saturday, Feb. 22, by Keyun and the Zydeco Masters will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the new amphitheater in Railyard Park. The Houston-based band plays zydeco music, which blends Louisiana French accordion music, Creole, Cajun, gospel and the blues along with several other genres.

“We would love to see the community come out and do the sip ’n stroll, enjoy the parade, gather beads and just stroll downtown and enjoy the development that is going down here,” Caverly said. “Everyone is going to be decorated and everyone is going to be festive. Come down and support the Rotary Club, the downtown merchants and all the downtown businesses.”

Questions about the events should be directed to the Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association through its Facebook page, Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association, or website www.downtownwaxahachie.com.

Questions about parade entries can be directed to College Street Pub at 972-938-2062 or the Waxahachie Rotary Club via its website at www.waxahachierotary.org.

Railyard Park is located at the corner of College and Rogers streets in downtown.

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