Mardi Gras festivities roll on this weekend in Soulard

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Thousands of people are expected to be in Soulard today for fun events ahead of next weekend`s main Mardi Gras celebration.  The 23rd Beggin Pet Parade starts at 1pm this afternoon.  All kinds of festively dressed pets will surely turn out for this fun event.  If you haven`t already registered online, you can register starting at 10am this morning at 12th and Allen.  There is a ten dollar registration fee with all proceeds benefiting the Open Door Animal Sanctuary.  It is free to watch the parade.  It starts at 12th and Allen and ends basically at the Soulard Market near 9th and Lafayette.

Then at 2pm this afternoon, the Barefoot Wine Weiner Dog Derby will take place at 9th and Lafayette.  The 22nd annual Daschund derby will feature Weiner dogs racing down a 30 foot track.  Registration starts at 10am this morning at the corner of 9th and Lafayette.  Just like the parade, it`s ten bucks to enter and free to watch.

Finally, the Southern Comfort Taste of Soulard continues today.  Tickets for this event are $25.  Each ticket gets you one Southern Comfort drink voucher and six food vouchers.  This started yesterday from 11am until 5pm; it continues today during the same time frame.

With the great weather, Mardi Gras organizers are expecting thousands of people in Soulard today along with a lot of animals.  Eight to ten thousand animals are expected for the pet parade; another 100-150 Daschunds should turn out for the Weiner Dog Derby.  And new this year, there is a separate category in the derby called 'Weiner Dog Wannabes.'  That means if you have a small dog that you want to race, bring it out and enter it in that new category.

For more information on the Mardi Gras schedule, check out the event website: