GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Business operators that cater to carnival season and their customers are starting to feel the Mardi Gras heat.
In just a little more than a month, we will be celebrating Fat Tuesday.
That means less time to get ready.
Vanessa Edwards Wasson is shopping with a purpose
"I have a pre-ball party this weekend that I have a little dress that needs a jacket, and then we'll have a ball closer to the end of the month, first of the month of February," she said.
She's been preparing for Carnival balls for 20-plus years. Normally, she has a little bit more time.
"This year," Wasson said, "the way everything's going, I feel like I need to get it done now."
The truncated season means an earlier business rush at consignment shops like Back on the Rack Upscale Resale in Gulfport.
"If anything, it's made our business very busy because we've had more ladies come in earlier to shop for Mardi Gras," said manager Lindsey Martin. "We actually started Mardi Gras season in probably December with our gowns."
So far, the tighter schedule hasn't had the same effect at Mardi Gras Supplies in Gulfport.
"I'm not sure. Maybe people aren't just rushing in to get everything," said lead cashier Melody Wagner. "A lot of people wait until the last minute to get all their Mardi Gras supplies. So, I'm thinking that's what's going to happen this year."
For Frances Buchanan and her mother, Allison, the last minute is now.
"It kind of snuck up on us," Frances said.
This year, Frances is a maid for the Krewe of Neptune, and the ball is Feb. 3.
"It's a lot of pressure," she said. "I have to go back to grad school in South Carolina and then I have to come back for this, so, it has to all be done in the next week before I go back to school. It's kind of stressful, but it's fun."