PORT ARTHUR —
When the phones ring at the Mardi Gras Store in Port Arthur this time of year people are talking in millimeters, according to festival organizers.
“When people call there are usually two or three things they ask for,” said Laura Childress, president of Mardi Gras Southeast Texas. “They ask for bead millimeters, bead length and shape.”
Childress said she ordered 1200 cases of beads this year in preparation for the event. The bounty filled an entire shipping container.
The festival begins February 16 in Port Arthur and Childress is confident the store will sell out.
“We sell out every year,” said Childress.
Mardi Gras Southeast Texas, the organization behind the massive festival, ordered about 20 percent more beads in hopes that they would have some left over to use during the year.
People are always asking for beads during the off season, for Mardi Gras-themed parties and other events, said Childress.
The common throw bead is a 33 inch necklace with 7 millimeter beads around it.
A case of throwbeads sells for $37 and includes 144 bead necklaces.
“The prices start varying as you go up in size and as you go up in weight,” said Childress. “The nicer it is the more it costs.”
The Mardi Gras Store also carries anything that is printed with the official logo of Mardi Gras Southeast Texas including cups, T-shirts and posters.
In one visit to the store, party goers can outfit themselves with everything they needs, whether they will be walking around.
“We have a lot of items but beads are the main thing we sell,” said Laura Childress.
The Mardi Gras Store is located in the same building as the Retail Merchants Association at 3830 Hwy. 365 in Port Arthur, on the side facing Hwy. 365.
Also sold at the Mardi Gras Store is the Mardi Gras FunPass wristband, available for $20.
The pass includes unlimited rides any one day as well as admission to the festival grounds.