BLANKET — The Blanket Mardi Gras Parade and Community Fellowship continues growing with more than a dozen floats featured in this year’s event as well as hundreds of spectators.

With only four floats its first year, then seven in 2018, the third annual Blanket Mardi Gras Parade and Community Fellowship drew nearly double that in its third iteration, which has organizers excited for next year.

“It has about tripled in size … One of our local fire fighters, who also works at Superior, needs a kidney transplant and he needs funds to supplement his insurance,” said Joan Atchley, who along with her husband Steven. “We’re trying to raise money for him. His name is Billy Sherrod. We didn’t have a fundraiser (last year) we didn’t want to take donations we just wanted to have fun.”

Atchley said the parade started when Julia Oechsner, her sister and co-worker at Blanket General Store, moved to Blanket from St. Louis. Athcley and Oechsner attended each year’s Mardi Gras parade while they lived in St. Louis and Atchley figured why let a good tradition go to waste.

This year, Atchley and Oechsner became part of the festivities as they road what seemed this year’s signature float – The Black Apron Krewe – while Steven Atchley provided fireworks.  Although pleased with the growth of the event, Atchley said she was more pleased they could benefit another member of the Blanket community and hopes the enthusiasm shared Saturday night will bleed into some of the events she hope to host later this year.

“Everyone wanted to come out to help Billy and just be a part of a fun party,” Atchley said. “We try to have a lot of community things that are fun. We had two cook-offs, one in March and one in October, and we also had a fajita festival. We try to do a lot of things to bring out the community.”