Long Beach businesses preparing for first Mardis Gras parade with to-go cups

Long Beach businesses preparing for first Mardis Gras parade with to-go cups

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - When Coast city leaders pushed to allow to-go cups in 2016, they said the concept would pay off in a big way during events.

People in Long Beach will be able to get their first taste from to-go cups during Mardi Gras, and business are planning to cash in.

In Long Beach the barricades are in position and people have already claimed their spots for Saturday night's Mardi Gras parade. Restaurants and bars in downtown depend on big sales coming from parade goers.

"Mardi Gras parade for Long Beach is always the busiest day of the year for me," said Anthony Portera, owner of Eagle Island Daiquiri Bar & Grill.

Eagle Island is right on the parade route and since Portera can allow people to leave with drinks in hand he's expecting an even busier day.

"I'm thinking possibly double sales in daiquiris," Portera said.

Down the street at the Lil' Ray's, it's the same story.

"With the to go cup thing we'll probably double or triple our sales on alcohol, easily," Lil' Ray's employee Jake Getsinger said.

Getsinger and the restaurant staff are making extra efforts to meet the demand.

"We have our cooler stocked full and we tripled our order," Getsinger said. "Hopefully we're going to be able to move all that tomorrow."

Eagle Island Portera is reaching out to customers who want to drink on the street. They won't even have to come in to order.

"I've got the walk-up window and I'm going to have someone stationed there the entire time," Portera said.

Portera knows he needs a full staff in place to accommodate the expected rush. He also ordered thousands of extra cups, just in case they're needed.

"I've heard from people saying that they're going to be ordering eight to 10 at a time to carry back down to where ever they're located on the street," Portera said.

The Long Beach parade starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

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