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‘It’s probably better than we’ve ever seen’: Mardi Gras hotel bookings strong after year off

By TYLER FINGERT

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    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — The final preparations are underway at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel ahead of Friday’s first parade. Their spot on Royal Street a prime location to watch Mardi Gras return to the Port City.

Inside, there is a lot of hustling as they are expecting the next three weeks to be huge in terms of bookings.

“I would say it’s probably better than we’ve ever seen,” said Kent Blackinton, General Manager at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel.

Blackinton has had the General Manager job at the Riverview for 14 years. He has seen a Mardi Gras or two and he believes this year will be a big one after COVID cancelled the fun last year.

“We are almost sold out this weekend, we are very close to being sold out next weekend and we are obviously very sold out on that last week,” he said. “I really think it’s probably the best Mardi Gras bookings I’ve seen.”

Guests are just as excited. Some of them are local, but others used to live here and just could not miss the fun.

“I haven’t been here in like three years, thank you COVID, but I also brought a friend of mine this time and it’s her very first time at Mardi Gras so it makes it super exciting to bring someone who has never seen this culture,” said Christine Kirby.

“We all like to come down here every year and party, it’s just a lot of fun,” said Susan Hopkins. “The floats are pretty; the balls are fun.”

With the floats set to start rolling soon many are already thinking about some of the throws they will catch.

“Who doesn’t want a MoonPie? As a kid I remember singing the song the M-O-O-N-P-I-E, MoonPie MoonPie fly to me,” Kirby said.

Blackinton said they do not expect staffing issues to play a big roll over the next few weeks.

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