Mardi Gras season is short this year, but businesses are ready

Mardi Gras season is short this year, but businesses are ready

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - As the Christmas trees and lights come down, the beads and king cakes are coming out.

2018 is a shorter Carnival season than the past couple years.

Easter 2018 comes April 1. And Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine's Day.

Therefore, this year's Mardi Gras season starts Saturday, Jan. 6, and ends Feb. 13.

Tubbs Hardware is wasting no time when it comes to Mardi Gras this year.

"Mardi Gras is early this year, so we gotta get a move on," owner Don Tubbs said.

"We have taken all of the Cajun Christmas out of here at Tubbs, and now we are filling it up with Mardi Gras.

"As soon as Christmas was over, boom, Mardi Gras had to come in."

The Bossier City business sells 10,000 king cakes a year not to mention thousands of beads, shirts and more.

Mardi Gras brings in big bucks during the otherwise slow winter months.

Even with a shorter season, Tubbs still expects to sell plenty of merchandise.

"We'll do a lot of business two weeks before Mardi Gras, like we normally do.

"But we'd love for it to be a longer Mardi Gras season. You just take it when you get it," he said.

"This is the first day of the year, and we've had tremendous flow in our Mardi Gras section because they know Mardi Gras is quick this year."

Tuesday was the first day of business this year for Lilah's Bakery, which is open only during the Mardi Gras season.

The Shreveport bakery already is taking king cake orders for this weekend and next week.

"We hit the ground rolling," co-owner Lisa Tike said.

Lilah's Bakery sold 12,000 king cakes last year and hopes to up that to 15,000 in this year's shorter time frame.

"Even though it's a shorter season, we sell half of our king cakes in the last 3 weeks," Tike said.

"We just have to rush to make sure everything is ready and planned out."

Even with the shorter season, it will have the same number of parades and provide the same opportunity to get people into the community, according to the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.

Officials say the bureau just has to be a little more aggressive promoting this year's parades and other festivities.

Small businesses like Tubbs Hardware and Lilah's Bakery will be the most impacted by the shorter season, according to the bureau.

A 2016 study found that Shreveport-Bossier City's four major Mardi Gras parades bring $9 million to $16 million into the economy.

Click here to see the full list of Mardi Gras events happening throughout the ArkLaTex this year.

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