St. Mary’s 5K part of Andalusia Mardi Gras events

Published 12:55 pm Thursday, February 1, 2024

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Runners, walkers and revelers are expected to gather at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church next Saturday, Feb. 10, when the church hosts its annual Mardi Gras 5K Run/Walk for Rice and Beans.

The event is a fundraiser for the church’s rice and beans program, which provides those in need with free rice, beans and non-perishable food items, as well as a hot breakfast, on the third Saturday of each month.

Debra Gamble, who chairs the event, said 100 to 150 people take participate in the monthly rice and beans event, and most of that ministry’s work is funded by the annual race.

The race is followed by a lunch of New Orleans-styled red beans and rice and bread pudding for participants, and anyone else interested.

“The lunch is an important part,” she said. “It is symbolic of sharing together as the body of Christ, and it also demonstrates that the simple rice and beans we distribute each month can be really tasty staples.”

The 5K begins at 9 a.m. at Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1307 East Three Notch St., in Andalusia. RaceKrewe manages the race with chronotrack timing. The fun run will follow at 10 a.m.

The race, held annually on the Saturday before “Fat Tuesday,” or Mardi Gras, is the first of two Mardi Gras events planned in Andalusia in 2024. Andalusia’s third annual Mardi Gras parade will roll at 1 p.m.

“These two events really complement each other,” Gamble said. “We know that some of our runners stay around for the parade, and we hope the parade helps draw attention to our event, too.

“Mardi Gras is all about fun, and our race is, too,” she said. “We encourage participants to dress in their Mardi Gras finery and have a good time.”

Awards will be presented and a red beans and rice lunch will be served for all participants at 11 a.m. Additional lunch tickets are available for $5.

Pre-race packet pick up is Fri., Feb. 9, from 4:00 p.m. until 6 p.m. Race day registration and check-in is the day of the race from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. Cost is $30 for the 5K, and $15 for the fun run.

Online registration is available at