ST. LOUIS – Community members and law enforcement prepare for large crowds to descend upon the streets of Soulard over the next two weekends for Mardi Gras celebrations.

Soulard is putting up its finishing touches ahead of next week’s Mardi Gras weekend. Before the parade, the neighborhood is gearing up for other big events like Saturday’s 5k and the pet parade this weekend.

“This weekend, it’s all about family, it’s all about fun, bring your pets out,” said Bess McCoy with St. Louis Mardi Gras Foundation. “Come enjoy the great bars and restaurant in Soulard, and come enjoy the great weather, we’re going to have as well.”

Many are excited about the “Run for Your Beads 5k” on Saturday, the Purina Pet Parade on Sunday, and the Taste of Soulard running all weekend.

“They call Soulard the island for a reason, it’s a very unique neighborhood,” said Adam Tilford, CEO and co-founder of Mission Taco Joint. “And we got to showcase what we do, so it means a lot to us because it was really the first event that jump-started sales at this location.”

With so much excitement about Mardi Gras celebrations going on this weekend and over the next two weeks, there’s also concern about public safety as crowds flock to the area for one of their biggest times of the year.

Barricades are up to control crowds. Police are also working with the neighborhood and other law enforcement to ensure plans are in place to keep everyone safe.

A spokesperson with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released the following statement:

“For the Mardi Gras detail, we will also be assisted by both the St. Louis County Police Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol. We will be using technology, such as our mobile Skycop cameras, as well as plain-clothed detectives, to assist in monitoring the festivities.”

“It’s important to remember that this is a neighborhood, so come down,” McCoy said. “Have a great time, but be respectful of people that live here as well.”

You can find out more information about the upcoming Mardi Gras event, here.