Changes to Gulf Shores Mardi Gras parade route unrelated to 2017 - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Changes to Gulf Shores Mardi Gras parade route unrelated to 2017 accident

GULF SHORES, AL (WALA) -

It’s been almost a year since the Mardi Gras parade tragedy in Gulf Shores.  As last year’s parade was getting underway, the driver of a support vehicle in the parade lost control of his SUV and ran over a dozen Gulf Shores Band members, injuring some seriously.  There will be changes to the 2018 Mardi Gras parade, but not all have to do with the accident.

This will be the 40th year of celebrating Mardi Gras on the streets of Gulf Shores.  What has always been a fun day of revelry turned quickly to tragedy in 2017.  No sooner than the parade begun than the excitement turned to concern and a frantic effort to help members of the Gulf Shores High School Band who’d been run over by an out of control SUV.

The parade is run by the city and Gulf Shores’ spokesperson, Grant Brown says the school and band director asked for no special accommodations, but some changes are planned.

Not special requests necessarily, however, we did talk to him about who will be behind the band,” Brown said.  “There will be other walkers and some type of public safety vehicle.”

This year’s parade will have 40 entries and will follow a new route.  Because of bridge construction on Highway 59, the parade will start at The Hangout and head east to the Gulf State Park Pier along the beach highway.  At 1.6 miles, the route is slightly shorter than the old one, but there should be plenty of room for folks to spread out.

“The barricades will be set up right in the middle of the beach highway.  The parade will be on the southern lanes so people will be standing on the northern side of the highway, looking south or being on the south side off the parade route on the sidewalk, looking north,” Brown explained.

One group who’s been parading in Gulf Shores for many years is Magnolia by the Gulf Small Animal Clinic.  The employees and clients get into the spirit each year by hosting their own animal parade at the clinic the Saturday before Mardi Gras.  This year, they’re especially excited and hoping for big crowds on Fat Tuesday.

“We are really looking forward to having everybody out this year,” said veterinarian, Dr. Scarlet Anderson.  “It was such a tragedy last year and we’ve got our excitement ramped up, ready to go this year.  Hopefully, we’ll have an even bigger turnout this year to make up for last year.”

The parade starts at 10:00 a.m. Fat Tuesday and there will be plenty of parking along Hwy. 59 and at the Gulf Place West parking lot.  If you can’t come down, you can check out our live parade coverage right here on Fox 10 News.  
 

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