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Get ready for car show, Mardi Gras mashup

Two popular downtown events will collide March 2, and tourism officials hope it will bring great results.

The annual Goin’ to Town Car Show, presented by the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce with help from Fielder’s Pro Shop and the Ole Brook Cruisers, will open that morning and run into the afternoon. When it’s over, it will be time for the third annual Downtown Jazzed Up Mardi Gras parade and street dance, which is sponsored by the Chamber and the Brookhaven Tourism Council.

That makes for a full day of free, family-friendly entertainment, said Chamber Program Director Katie Nations.

The car show is usually the first Saturday of March and the Mardi Gras event is the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. This year the two dates are the same.

“It’s sort of a happy accident,” Nations said.

The events’ organizers hope to use that to their advantage.

“We think it’s a great day to have Goin’ to Town and Downtown Jazzed Up,” she said. “Hopefully, we can get those people who may not have known about the car show to come in early and the ones that wouldn’t have been here otherwise for our Downtown Jazzed Up event to stay late.”

Car show organizer T-Tommy Smith has said some of those who have already registered have shown   an interest in staying for the parade and concert.

“That’s great, so we can fill up our restaurants and hotels all day,” Nations said.

The car show, which began in 1994, is free to the public for viewing, but participants pay a $10 registration fee to enter a vehicle by Feb. 28. Registration is $15 March 2.

Forms are available at the Chamber office or Fielder’s Pro Shop, or on the website, www.brookhavenchamber.org.

Dash plaques are given to the first 150 vehicles registered. Gift bags will be given to participants that day and door prizes will be awarded throughout the day.

When the car show ends at 3 p.m., organizers for Downtown Jazzed Up will set up inflatables near Brookhaven Music and Sound on Railroad Avenue. Children will be able to get their faces painted at one booth, while another will be set up with free decorations for children to give bikes a Mardi Gras makeover.

Beads, cups and other throws will be given away in preparation for the Second Line jazz parade, which will begin at Lampton Auditorium about 6:30 p.m.

Unlike a regular parade with floats, a “second line” parade is a procession that grows as bystanders join in.

“We want everyone to join us. We’re going to have a band lead the parade,” Nations said.

About 150 to 200 people attended last year’s event, despite a downpour which forced the parade and musicians into Lampton Auditorium.

Nations is banking on plenty of sunshine this year.

The parade will make its way down Cherokee Street and around the downtown area to Railroad Street, where it will disband in front of the music store. The Bridge Band will perform and dancing is encouraged. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs to enjoy the show.

Nations said many restaurants and boutiques plan to offer specials throughout the day and several shops will have open house events to coincide with the festivities.

For information about the car show, call Smith at 601-833-8620.

For information about Downtown Jazzed Up call the Chamber at 601-833-1411.