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D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) -
Bead catching, king cake eating Mardi Gras fun is a part of our southern culture, but it is a tradition unique to the South many never get to experience.
Ellie Marchant and Jo Reamsnyder, their husbands and friends decided, this year, they were going to see what the fun was all about, they loaded up and drove down from Iowa.
Reamsnyder said, "I'm going to catch a lot of beads, but I'm not going to show anything.
Marchant said, "Throw me something mister."
Marchant has been to a few parades already, but for Reamsnyder The North Bay Association Parade is her first. Already she is having a great time dancing and catching beads.
Reamsnyder said, "I'm trying to get my husband to come down here for Fat Tuesday, is that what's it's called?"
They are not the only friends that hit the road to enjoy the festivities, Dorothy Cauley and her friend drove down from Ohio and her niece flew in from California.
"I think just the excitement all over, the children catching the things," Cauley said.
She got her first taste of Mardi Gras in the 1970s when her husband was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base. Cauley loved it so much she does not miss a Mardi Gras.
"We just enjoy coming every year," Cauley said.
The fun also made an impression on Robert Graham who drives six and a half hours from North Alabama every year.
"People getting together having fun that's all there is to it. There is no meaning, just fun," Graham said. "The beads they look good when you get them and then you get them home and say, 'What am I going to do with them.'"
Over the years he found the perfect solution.
"The beads we get, we save them and take them to the nursing homes and pass them out," Graham said.
While Marchant and Reamsnyder do not have any traditions yet, they may develop some in the future because they already have plans to celebrate Mardi Gras next year.
Marchant said, "We are thinking next year we might try it on Bourbon Street on a balcony, that's daring isn't it?"
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