What you should know before heading to Mardi Gras in St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Soulard is painted in gold, green and purple Thursday for the 38th annual Mardi Gras. It is second only to New Orleans in size. The event brings in millions of dollars to the city.

Tens of thousands will fill these streets on Saturday. The parade is the big highlight of the event. With 100 entries the theme this year is, "Celebrate Cinema."

Event organizers Mardi Gras Inc say 25 percent of those who attend the event are from outside the St. Louis area. That means these visitors are staying in hotels and eating at restaurants. The event is big business for St. Louis, generating $23 million to the local economy. THat's on par with revenue when the city hosts the World Series.

When it comes to have fun organizers want revelers to be mindful of where you are. St. Louis Police will get some assistance this weekend from County Police and the Missouri Highway Patrol. They will be looking for underage drinkers and those looking to break in cars that will be in the many downtown parking lots.

If you are planning to drive you'll need to know about lane closures. Learn more be clicking this link to see an interactive map. Metro will also be offering shuttle rides.

There is also the Mayor's Ball. That event raises tens of thousands dollars for Downtown and Soulard revitalization.

Google Map for coordinates 38.604282 by -90.209227.

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