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ST. LOUIS — Local Mardi Gras celebration organizers believe the St. Louis community is ready to support Soulard businesses recovering from a pandemic that shut some of them down.  2022 is also the return of the traditional Mardi Gras celebrations that did not take place last year.  

“The last two years have been really difficult for bars and restaurants all over the place,” said Mack Bradley, president of the Mardi Gras Foundation.  

He encourages anyone looking to show support for those businesses to purchase a ticket for this year’s Taste of Soulard.  Tickets include six tastes and a drink coupon for any of the 26 participating establishments or online.

“It’s a good boost for restaurants for sure,” said Will Mueller manager for The Great Grizzly Bear.  The bar and restaurant shut down because of the pandemic and re-opened under new ownership in July of 2021. 

The business is expected to be especially busy following the return of the annual Purina Pet Parade Sunday.   The Great Grizzly Bear has a separate entrance for dogs that leads to a patio space with water bowls. 

“It’s like seeing tons of happy faces everywhere,” said Eva Junior, Soulard resident and dog owner.  “How could you not like that?” 

Bradley said the annual parade is a Guinness World Records holder for the greatest number of costumed dogs in one place.  

Following the parade, another family-friendly tradition will return.  

“We have another record holder,” said Bradley. “The longest-running wiener dog race in the country will take place in Soulard Market Park.” 

He said, “A lot of people like to think of it as the slowest 20 seconds in sports.” 

For a complete look at Mardi Gras activities for 2022 go to: