MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) The streets of Downtown Mobile were bustling with football fans Saturday for the festivities ahead of the GoDaddy.com Bowl Sunday night.
Kent State University and Arkansas State University fans and players lined Royal Street as the Carnival-style parade rolled through downtown featuring more than 50 floats, marching bands, dancers and cheerleaders.
A fireworks display, pep rally and street party at the Mobile Convention Center immediately followed the parade.
The parade drew many returning Arkansas State fans like Bo Mitchell, who watched the Red Wolves lose to Northern Illinois University at Ladd-Peebles Stadium last year.
Mitchell said he and his family were sure to see all the sights in Mobile again.
"It was amazing last year," Mitchell said. "The parade was awesome, the festivities were great, I mean, you guys do a first class job rolling out everything for this bowl game."
Newcomers to Mardi Gras in Mobile, like Arkansas State Deep Snapper Ryan Eustace, said the parade is just a slice of his overall Port City experience.
"(I) liked to go to Wintzell's. That place was awesome," Eustace said. "I loved to eat there. That was good food. Shrimp po' boys are awesome.
"This is beyond my wildest dreams. I mean, it's crazy just the stuff we get to do. It's so much fun. Definitely one way to start off my freshman year."
The Mardi Gras lifestyle may be as foreign to Kent State fans, like Debora Berry, as the bowl game fanfare.
"Our first bowl game in 40 years," Berry said. "This is just exciting for Kent State. We're happy to be here. Mobile is wonderful. The hospitality is just marvelous. You guys have palm trees and no snow."
The Conde Cavaliers, who roll on January 25, is the first official Mardi Gras Parade in Mobile.