Mardi Gras came to Dallas Feb. 11 in a colorful parade that decorated the streets of Bishop Arts District.
The Dallas sidewalks were filled with thousands of community members dressed in their most colorful and outrageous attire, while children anxiously awaited their chance to catch the famous Mardi Gras beads.
Bishop Arts District resident Ben Galiche said he was excited to have this kind of event in his neighborhood.
“I’ve been to the real ones in New Orleans and this reminds me of the community feel,” Galiche said. “I came last year and I thought it was amazing, so now I’m back.”
Community activist Amy Wallace Cowan originally brought the annual Oak Cliff Mardi Gras festival to Dallas in 2009. The parade was formed to spark involvement in the Bishop Arts District. After almost 10 years, the annual parade has an average attendance of 10,000 people. Due to its volunteers’ dedication, the parade is now considered one of the most diverse events in Oak Cliff. The parade attempts to incorporate everyone in the community and has sponsorships from dozens of organizations in the Dallas area.
The Go Oak Cliff Parade gives Dallas an opportunity to celebrate Mardi Gras away from the busy streets of New Orleans.
Jenna Edens has brought her family to the parade for over three years and brings more people each year.
“The reason this parade is so amazing is because I can bring my 5-year-old and still have fun myself. It’s cool that our neighborhood has fun things like this. We are definitely lucky,” Edens said.
It is with this sense of community pride and celebration that the Mardi Gras parade has been able to grow. During these festivities, many different Dallas areas and come together as a united neighborhood.
The floats in the parade give each organization an opportunity to have a voice in the community. When creating the idea, Cowan intended it as a way to learn about new community events while bringing everyone together. Over the past decade, the parade has become so popular that Go Oak Cliff capped parade participation at 50 organizations.
Even though Go Oak Cliff just celebrated its 10th annual Mardi Gras Parade, its goal remains the same: to bring the many sections of Oak Cliff together and unite the community.
Float coordinator Melissa Cohen said she worked hard for the parade to be part of something larger than her.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to come together from all different areas in Dallas. I can definitely say that I am proud to be part of it,” Cohen said.