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MARDI GRAS MERRIMENT

It may not be New Orleans, but Dunedin's version of Mardi Gras offers a similar list of temptations.

Beer. Wine. Food. And, of course, an uncountable number of colorful strands of plastic beads.

The City Commission will be there. So will Miss Mardi Gras, an Orlando man dressed in drag named Queen Aspen Love.

Mardi Gras is the day of feast and celebration that precedes Ash Wednesday, the Christian holiday that marks the start of Lent.

The annual event is hosted by the Dunedin Merchants Association and the city. There will be music, people and plenty of food and drink. Who needs Bourbon Street?

The parade

It starts at 7:30 p.m. and will travel on Douglas Avenue, starting at Knology Park and ending at Main Street. Admission is free. Main Street will be closed most of the day. Food, drink and crafts will be available for purchase.

The parade features a 1969 Ford Good Humor ice cream truck owned by Paul Meissner of the Clearwater firm Carlson & Meissner.Employees of the law office will hand out free ice cream.

Meissner bought the truck in 2004 and it has appeared at local fundraising and charitable events since.

The parade's grand marshals are WFLA's Daytime hosts Cyndi Edwards and Dave Nemeth.

The king

The Mardi Gras king is usually a Dunedin merchant picked by the Mardi Gras committee, made up of local business owners. This year, the scepter will go to Glen Turpin, 57, owner of An Olde Feedstore, an antiques and collectibles store. He said he remembers watching the parade a decade ago, when it lasted about 10 minutes. Now it will last an hour.

BY THE NUMBERS

17 number of years Dunedin has hosted a Mardi Gras event.

30,000 people are expected to come

10 cars in the parade

40 parade floats

40 kegs of beer

60 cases of wine

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