For the second year, the Aiken Downtown Development Association will bring the Big Easy to downtown Aiken.

On Saturday, March 1, the Second Line Mardis Gras Parade will start in the Alley at 1:30 p.m. and parade down the sidewalks on Laurens Street in celebration of the New Orleans spirit of “laissez les bon temp rouler,” or “let the good times roll.”

“The second line started for the people who were not in the parade, and it's a dance after a funeral, but without the body,” said Julia Stentz, a Downtown Association volunteer who moved from New Orleans in 2007. “It's just a great way for people to get involved, and Carla Cloud (past ADDA director) asked me a couple of years ago to help out.”

Participants are asked to wear masks, Mardi Gras themed outfits and bring decorated umbrellas or handkerchiefs. Beads and party favors will be passed out to those who attend and immediately following the parade, the Association will hold a king cake ceremony in The Alley. The cake will be donated by La Dolce.

“King cake is about the Christ child, and it starts on Jan. 6 until Mardi Gras in New Orleans,” Stentz said. “Every office, classroom and everyone does a king cake and whoever gets the plastic baby provides the next cake.”

Families are invited to come, especially with children. Stentz said she just hopes the weather stays sunny for the parade.

“I think it will just be a fun afternoon, especially if we have good weather,” Stentz said. “It will be enjoyable, it doesn't cost anything and it just puts people in a good mood.”

For more information, call 803-649-2221 or visit

Maayan Schechter is the city beat reporter with Aiken Standard. An Atlanta native, she has a mass communications-journalism degree from the University of North Carolina Asheville. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.