New Orleans Jazz, Masks, and Lights Mark El Centro’s Mardi Gras Parade

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EL CENTRO — With floats colorfully lit to capacity, all decorated in jewel-toned greens, purples, and gold, and accompanied by New Orleans jazz blasting from speakers, downtown El Centro celebrated Mardi Gras Saturday night in true southern style.

Hundreds of revelers filled the streets, adding to the festive mood as they donned tri-colored bead necklaces and danced to the music, their mood even reflected in the bands as the musicians themselves were decorated with lights.

The event attracted the young and old, including Canadian snowbirds Earl and Bonita Slimmon, who have attended the past four out of the nine-year history of the parade.

“This is such a fun evening,” said Earl Slimmon from Stoughten, Saskatchewan, Canada. “We stay the winter at Desert Trails. We are out here in summer clothing, and this is one of the events we look forward to seeing.”

Juan Cruz has announced the parade at his emcee station the last four years, obviously enjoying his job as he described with gusto the scene and participants traveling down Main Street.

“It is great to see the community out here, coming together and having a fun time,” Cruz said between floats and marching bands.

Riding the grand finale float that was brightly lit to the hilt was the queen and king of the El Centro Mardi Gras, Queen Sedalia Sanders and her husband, King Albert.

Despite the fact that the official day of Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Lent begins, had already passed, El Centro residents enjoyed an excuse for an evening of lights, music, and fun.

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