Participants in the 2015 Umbrella Parade show off their creations.

Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Sunny skies may be forecast for Sunday, but in Port Arthur hundreds of umbrellas decorated in traditional Mardi Gras fashion are expected to parade along Procter Street.

The 2016 Umbrella Brigade Parade is part of Sunday Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas festivities with lineup starting at 1 p.m. and the parade at 2 p.m.

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This year marks the return for what turned out to be a popular event during Port Arthur’s 2015 Mardi Gras event.

“Last year was our first year to do it, and we had 200 to 300 people signed up, at least that amount if not more,” Dana Melancon, Parade Grand Marshal, said. “Last year it exceeded our expectations and because of that, I think it will be even bigger this year.”

Participants will have registered and received a free umbrella at the Mardi Gras Store in Port Arthur to take home and decorate in high Mardi Gras style.

Decorations are expected to be festive, elaborate, original, but most of all creative.

In addition to leading the parade, Melancon will pull the music wagon to add to the festivities.

Participants can also decorate small wagons and, push cars or golf carts to carry beads and/or music.

The parade will go down Procter Street and end in front of the main stage for judging to be announced at 3 p.m.

Judging will be for the best overall creative design with first, second and third place awards given. Prizes are $200, $100, and $50.

Last year all ages participated in the parade.

“The youngest were kids barely able to toddle around, to older people,” Melancon said.

This year’s umbrella parade will be Melancon’s second to lead.

“They asked me to do it again this year, so I was glad to” he said. “It’s a good way for everyone to get involved and easy to participate in.”

Other Sunday Mardi Gras activities include the children’s Munchkin Parade and the motor parade, both at 3 p.m.

Wayne Toups and DyDeCajun will perform on the main stage at 5:30 p.m. to close out Mardi Gras 2016 festivities in downtown Port Arthur.