Mardi Gras

The Soda City Brass Band leads a second line parade through The Alley during Aiken's 2019 Mardi Gras. 

The Aiken Downtown Development Association is bringing Bourbon Street back to Aiken on Saturday evening for the city's annual Mardi Gras parade and celebration. 

Now in its third year, the free event has drawn roughly 6,000 visitors to celebrate Mardi Gras with beads, masks and live music in downtown Aiken.   

Haley Knight, executive director of the Aiken Downtown Development Association, considers the celebration and parade to be the downtown development's most diverse event.  

"This is our opportunity to bring New Orleans and Bourbon Street to Aiken," Knight said. "Everyone's invited to wear their Mardi Gras attire and bring their own masks and beads." 

The event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m., and visitors can enjoy live music, Abita Beer and various food vendors with creole cuisine. 

"We'll have actual crawfish," Knight said. "You don't really see that in Aiken, so we're really excited about that." 

A New Orlean's-themed second line parade will kick off at 6 p.m. on the Laurens Street side of The Alley.

The parade, led by the Soda City Brass Band, will go through The Alley to Newberry Street.

"Anyone can participate," Knight said. "We'll be giving out masks and a ton of beads." 

For more information, visit the ADDA's Facebook page and at https://aikendda.us/news/events/.

Matthew Enfinger is the crime and courts reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @matt_enfinger