Trace Adkins will kick off this year’s annual Mardi Gras celebration at Universal Orlando Saturday.

The country superstar leads the first of 12 concerts held on select nights through March 25. Adkins has topped the Billboard country music charts with “Songs About Me,” “Ladies Love Country Boys” and “You’re Gonna Miss This.” Other concert headliners include Olivia Newton-John, UB40, Jason Derulo and Earth, Wind & Fire.

The Mardi Gras celebration begins Saturday and continues for 50 consecutive days. The annual event includes a nightly parade featuring Mardi Gras floats, New Orleans-inspired music, colorful dancers and stilt performers.

In a new twist this year, Universal Orlando’s annual passholders can sign up to throw more than a million beads from the parade floats. Float riders are chosen at random and the spots are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.

This is the first year the parade will roll through the park every night. The parades only ran on concert nights during previous Mardi Gras celebrations.

Authentic New Orleans-style cuisine like jambalaya, grilled andouille sausage and gumbo will be served in The French Quarter Courtyard.

Also debuting this year, guests that arrive after 6 p.m. can park for free.

Mardi Gras is included with admission to Universal Studios.

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