People come from near and far to get their spot on the parade routes a tradition that draws $17 million into the direct economy for the surrounding communities. "Overnight visitors account for 80% of that so our Mardi Gras continues to grab visitors from mostly Texas, throughout Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma,” explained Brandy Evans, Shreveport-Bossier Tourist Bureau. As the parades roll through so does the dough, but there is a secret recipe to keep them coming for more. "As long as we continue to provide a safe and family Mardi Gras we think our numbers will continue to grow,” admitted Evans. The tourist bureau puts together special packages for people making their way to the festivities. "We prove packages for the group tour operators and so this weekend and next weekend well be having a Mardi Gras bash,” said Evans. 250 tour groups are expected to invade Shreveport this weekend and even more next weekend.