Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Mardi Gras West: A 3R celebration for a cause

By: 
Sarah Elliott
Mardi is the French word for “Tuesday,” and gras means “fat.” In France, the day before Ash Wednesday came to be known as Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday.”

 

Mardi Gras
Saturday, Feb. 10, 6-10 pm, Three Rivers Memorial Building
Dinner tickets: $40 single; $75 couple
General admission (music and bar access; no dinner): $15
Free masks and beads; ages 21 and older only

 

 

The Emergency Aid Alliance is the Three Rivers krewe hosting the annual Mardi Gras fundraiser. Everyone is welcome to attend the gala event that will feature live music, a full bar with signature cocktails, and authentic Cajun cooking.
Janene Lasswell, president of EAA and owner of Ja Nene Natural Body Products in Three Rivers, hopes to evoke the spirit of New Orleans, the U.S. home of Mardi Gras, with dinner and dancing. 
 
Chomp: Dinner
Cajun shrimp and crawfish traditionally boiled in bags with vegetables and potatoes will be served, accompanied by red beans and Cajun rice. The vegetarian option will substitute meat-free sausage for the seafood.
 
Romp: At The Swamp
The bar, called “The Swamp,” will be in the expert hands of Wendy Ballew and Beth Jones. Partake in wine, beer, or some original cocktails like the Swamp Sludge and the Voo Doo. 
 
Stomp: The tunes
Kick up your heels to the bluegrass sounds of  the Quartz Mountain Ramblers. A banjo, fiddle, stand-up bass, and acoustic guitar combined with distinctive vocal harmonies will produce the traditional mountain music that will blend well with the Three Rivers surroundings.
 
Comp: Giving back
“We gave about $10,000 to those in need in Three Rivers in 2017,” said Janene. “We help the single moms, the elderly, and the working poor of Three Rivers. Many get laid off seasonally and don’t have the savings to make it through.”
 
All proceeds from Mardi  Gras will be used to assist Three Rivers residents who are experiencing extreme financial hardship. EAA offers direct cash assistance as funds allow and on an as-needed basis.
 
Mardi Gras history
Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday that dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites. Also known as Carnival, it’s celebrated in many countries around the world — mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations — on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. 
 
Though New Orleans Mardi Gras has a reputation for debauchery, the celebrations are also full of time-honored traditions. Brazil, Venice (Italy), and New Orleans, La., play host to some of the holiday’s most famous public festivities, drawing thousands of tourists and revelers every year. 
 
Mardi Gras Cheat Sheet
Colors— The official colors of New Orleans Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold.
 
Krewes— Mardi Gras krewes are social organizations that host balls or put on parades each carnival season.
 
Masks— In the early days of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, participants wore masks to escape social constraints and allow themselves to be free to mingle with whomever they chose.
 
Beads and Doubloons— Beads were thrown from floats since the very first parades rolled down the streets of New Orleans. Doubloons are coins featuring the krewe’s founding date, emblem, and name on one side, and the current year and theme of the parade on the other side.
 
King Cakes— Traditional New Orleans King Cakes are decorated with purple, green, and gold sugar icing. A plastic baby is placed inside the cake and tradition dictates that whoever is given the piece with the baby inside must buy the next cake or throw the next party. 

 

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