By Tommy Mann Jr. – The Record

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

It’s Mardi Gras time in Southeast Texas and that means Orange County will kick off the good times with its annual parade at the end of the month.

The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Krewe of Krewes Parade beginning at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 30 in downtown Orange. The family-friendly event will feature numerous decorated and lighted floats, more beads than you can imagine and an evening of live music and fun following the parade.

“This parade is a true family-friendly event,” said Ida Schossow, president of the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce. “There is always plenty of beads, trinkets and toys for the children, and lots of illuminated floats and trailers to see. It’s just great family fun.”

The parade will begin and end near the Orange Riverfront Pavilion, which is located near the intersection of Sixth Street and Division Avenue.

The parade route will start near the pavilion and travel down Division to 10th Street, where it will then continue right to Green Avenue. From Green Avenue the caravan will move east to First Street and turn right and then move to Front Street before reaching Sixth Street and concluding near the Pavilion. All floats will be staged in the parking lot adjacent to the Orange County Courthouse.

Also part of this year’s parade are the King and Queen of the recently held Mardi Gras Ball, Mike and Cheryl Zeto of Krewe Roulette. Schossow added all Krewe Royalty will be wearing their headdresses during the parade as an added attraction.

Applications to participate in the annual parade are available at the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce’s office, which is located at 1012 Green Avenue in downtown Orange or online at www.orangetexaschamber.org.

This year’s parade Grand Marshal will be Cornel Thompson, head football coach of the West Orange-Stark Mustangs Class 4A Division II State Champions. Thompson led the Mustangs to a 15-1 record and the school’s first state football title in 28 years with a 22-3 victory over Celina.

Following the parade is the “After Party,” which will feature a free concert for the public. The concert, featuring the well known and extremely entertaining Kevin Naquin and Ossun Playboys from Louisiana, will be held at Orange Riverfront Pavilion. The band is a popular attraction across Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.

The parade and concert is a joint partnership with the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce and the Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau.