ST. LOUIS (KPLR) –The 36th annual St. Louis Mardi Gras celebration weathered plunging temperatures Saturday. Organizers reported outdoor crowds appeared lighter than normal once the sun went down and the mercury dropped.
But tens of thousands enjoyed the morning parade and live bands in the afternoon. Fans walked through the Soulard neighborhood south of downtown displaying their beads and Mardi Gras finery.
It is a major weekend for the area bars and restaurants. Kory Hammerstone, owner of Hammerstone’s on Russell called Mardi Gras “Hugely important.” Winter is often slow for the neighborhood’s eateries.
“We depend on Mardi Gras to kind of bring us back from that cold weather slump,” she explained.
St. Louis police reported 67 arrests by 8pm, including 55 for underage drinking. There were also 60 DWI tickets issued. Police officers are not allowed to take vacation, so the department has a full contingent to handle the event and normal patrol duties in the rest of the city. Some St. Louis County Police officers and members of the Missouri Highway Patrol also assisted with traffic and patrol duties.