The tents are going up and the people are arriving from around the world as Carthage and the Congregation of the Mother Coredemptrix prepares to host the 36th annual Marian Days.
Accurate counts haven't been taken for years and there is no registration for the event, any estimate of how many people come to the Vietnamese Catholic festival is a guess, but those guesses say between 50,000 and 70,000 people will come to Carthage this week.
They will come to take in the reverence and religious pageantry of the dancing, singing, praying and worshipping, and they will come to see family and friends from across the country that they likely only see once a year.
And to prepare for thousands of people living in a tent city in the middle of town, Carthage city officials have closed off the area around the Congregation of the Mother Coredemptrix campus to normal traffic and modified some city ordinances to allow the celebration.
Carthage Police Chief Greg Dagnan said the Fairview Avenue from the 400 block to the 600 block east of Grand Avenue will be closed starting Wednesday.
The 1900 block of Grand Avenue and the 400 and 500 blocks of Highland Street around the CMC campus will be closed starting Thursday morning.
Marian Days officially kicks off with an opening ceremony from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. in the main complex of the campus.
Events are scheduled from 7:30 a.m.-midnight on Friday and Saturday with a closing Mass at 7 a.m. Sunday.
A “Solemn Processional” will see hundreds of worshippers parading around the grounds from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday. Main Street, Fairview Avenue and St. Louis Street west of the CMC grounds will be closed for this event.
Dagnan said he and other city officials have been working with the Fathers at the CMC for weeks to plan safety, security and traffic control for Marian Days.
Dozens of area police officers have been hired to serve as a second police force dedicated to patrolling the Marian Days area 24 hours a day during the event.
Dagnan said the department's Marian Days headquarters will be activated on Thursday.