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Sun shines on blue Mardi Gras parade

More than 500 police officers patrolled the streets looking for underage drinking and other violations

ST. LOUIS — The sun was shining on Soulard's 41st annual Mardi Gras parade on Saturday. 

This year's theme was all things Blue. Believe it or not, it’s an idea that was thought of before the St. Louis Blues won the Stanley Cup.

Mack Bradley is the president of the Mardi Gras Foundation. Bradley says, "Truth is we were going to do it last year and then somebody reminded us that that was our 40th anniversary and we thought probably that should be our theme this year we’ll do Blues next year. So it all just worked out." 

Tens of thousands lined the streets to watch the floats and catch some beads.

Six-year-old Calleigh Hill's favorite part is catching some candy. 

Hill says, "Caramels, suckers and um chocolate." You had some first-timers, "It's really fun." Some veterans, "Every time I come it just gets better, bigger, more fun." 

And people like Greg Garrett who says he's been to every Mardi Gras parade in St. Louis. Garrett says, "You can't miss it. It's the best one. It's better than New Orleans." 

Austin Branson and his friend, Anna, both work the parade. Their job is to pick up the extra beads that parade-goers don't catch.

"The hook on the end helps you pick up the beads so I don't have to bend over," Branson said. 

Mardi Gras always draws huge crowds and safety is always a priority. More than 500 police officers patrolled the streets looking for underage drinking and other violations.

St. Louis Police Lt. Col. Mike Sack says, "Our undercover group goes around looking for groups of minors that might be huddled together, they identify any who are drinking, they take them into custody." The party will continue into the night. 

Outside alcohol sales end at 7 PM. Bars will stop selling alcohol at 11:30 Saturday night.

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