MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — One of the most unique Mobile Mardi Gras traditions gets a huge sendoff. Hundreds of people crowded around the Church Street Cemetery for the arrival of Joe Cain’s Merry Widows. Several women dressed all in black wept and wailed their way past a cheering crowd to pay tribute to Mobile’s Joe Cain.

Each widow comically fought over who was Joe’s favorite. The cemetery, next to Mobile’s Ben May Main Library, seemed to be overflowing with guests Sunday. Last year, non-stop rain dampened the turnout. This year, sunny skies and warm weather brought more people to the spectacle.

“I just like the environment and the energy that comes with being in a big group of people celebrating tradition,” said Kayla Cowart who came out to watch the fun. While the tradition honors a man from the Reconstruction era, the Merry Widows parading society dates back to the 1970s. The widows tossed throws and trinkets to the screaming throngs of well-wishers.