ST. LOUIS — The latest surge in COVID-19 cases has prompted Soulard Mardi Gras organizers to change another aspect of the annual event. The Family Winter Carnival, originally scheduled for Jan. 22, has been canceled and will be replaced with an online contest.

Organizers said the carnival is a family-focused event that usually attracts children of all ages, many of whom are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. Plus, some vendors are also facing staffing challenges, which contributed to the cancellation of the event.

There will instead be an online contest where children can create mini-Mardi Gras floats out of shoeboxes. They can submit photos of their creations online for the chance to win a prize:

  • 1st place: Four passes to the St Louis Aquarium  
  • 2nd place: Four passes to the St Louis Ferris Wheel 
  • 3rd place: $50 Gift Certificate to the St. Louis Union Station Soda Fountain 

As a special treat, every kid who enters can get a free Raising Cane’s Combo Box. The deadline for contest entries is at midnight on Jan. 31. For more details, visit:

“Currently, dozens of shoeboxes are already being decorated in Mardi Gras regalia by children at the Soulard School and Gene Slays Boys and Girls Club, and we look forward to seeing their creativity,” said Nancy Lambert, a chairperson for the Family Winter Carnival.

Entries and the contest winners will be showcased on