Mardi Gras 2013 Kicks Off Without a Hitch

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Friday night kicked off the first night of the big St. Andrews Mardi Gras Festival. The event is one of the oldest and largest in the Panhandle and it's attracting people from all over the country.

The Kids and Pets Parade started off the day around 4 pm. Families lined the streets to catch beads, candy, and toys, but it wasn't just an event for the kids.

Down the road on Bayview, attendees had a chance to get food, hear live music from one of 7 stages and buy items from one of the 100 vendors. Some vendors coming from from other parts of the country.

"The amount of people that show up and support this event is what determined us to be here for this event," said Cici Suezaki who traveled from Arkansas to sell engraved rings at the event.

Natalie Reynolds was one of many performers to hit the stage with her band Sin Wagon. "We drove through earlier today and it was packed out, everybody getting ready and tonight everybody just has really good positive energy and they're ready to have a good time."

"I ain't never been to nothing like this for Mardi Gras anyway," said Jamie Millier, "I feel like I'll have a good time."

Other locals were more excited about what the rest of the weekend has in store.

"It's a little cold out here tonight but I think things are gonna get heated up tomorrow and it's gonna be great," said Connie Brown.

The festival re-opens Saturday morning at 10 am, the main parade starts at 2 pm. It will run from Oakland Terrace Park, then proceed west on 11th Street to Beck Ave. and finally north on Beck Ave. to 15th Street.

Be sure to get there early to check out all the krewes and and floats!