ST. LOUIS – Soulard was covered in purple, gold and green as tens of thousands gathered Saturday for the annual St. Louis Mardi Gras parade.

This year’s Mardi Gras parade marked the 43rd in St. Louis history. It’s the headliner of a five-week-long celebration in Soulard leading up to “Fat Tuesday,” the Mardi Gras observance that is recognized on Feb. 21 this year.

Soulard’s Mardi Gras festivities generate around $20 million each year for the local economy. Nearly one-quarter of parade visitors come from out of town, helping with the annual contribution.

While the origins of Mardi Gras stem from New Orleans, St. Louis also has some deep-rooted connections. Back in the 1790s, one southern area of St. Louis City was run by an upper Louisiana surveyor named Antoine Soulard. The neighborhood later embraced his namesake and began hosting Mardi Gras celebrations more than 200 years later.

Check out some sights and sounds from the parade in our story above.