This year’s Mardi Gras was full of high hopes for local businesses. For most, their expectations were fulfilled. Compared to last year’s celebration, crowds were estimated to be equal. “Mardi Gras is always big. It gives a chance for everyone to come out on the town and see what’s going on,” said Jason Fowler, who works at Downtown Deli. The deli attracted a lot of business despite the fact that they actually served a limited menu in order to accommodate the crowds. Fowler personally went out and sold sandwiches with a mobile vendor, which attracted extra business. However, Fowler does not think Mardi Gras is the Deli’s main source of sales for the year. “We get pretty good business all year,” said Fowler.
Though crowds were estimated to be similar to last year’s Mardi Gras, the parade was smaller. Bill Ouellette, president of the Mardi Gras committee, explains the smaller size as a result of two Krewes dropping out. Katie Kinloch, who works at the Lake Wales City Hall and is also the Treasure of the Mardi Gras committee, cites reasons that many of the crews that have been participating for so many years are no longer are fit for that kind of activity. “A lot of those older fellows are relying on the youth [to take over the Krewes],” said Kinloch.
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