Saturday, March 01, 2014

Let The Good Times Roll

It was billed as the world famous Mardi Gras parade with floats and krewes in a 2 day celebration from Friday, February 21 to Saturday, March 1. I am not sure if it was a New Orleans styled Mardi Gras but the Lake Wales Mardi Gras was fun! On Friday, February 28, there was the Wild Shiners Annual Black Light Ball, Mardi Gras 5K Run/Walk, and that evening the festival began.  On Saturday was the PARADE.

There was the rhythm of Dixieland Jazz and Southern Rock blaring from speakers, the young and young at heart had on their mask and wild wigs, and covered themselves with beads. As you know "Mardi Gras" is translated from French to mean "Fat Tuesday" and refers to the day before the Catholic holy day Ash Wednesday with signifies the first of the forty days of Lent.  The devout of New Orleans customarily gave up meat and other indulgences during Lent, thus "carneval"  or "farewell to meat", became "Carnival" calling for the biggest party of the year. I think Lake Wales, FL, got the message.

The traditional colors of Mardi Gras and New Orleans are purple (for justice), gold (for power),and green (for faith).  However, Krewes (secret groups, that make up the outlandish cast of characters on the floats) select their own signature colors to brandish during the carnival events.  Another tradition adapted from New Orleans for Lake Wales is the "Krewe of Rex" that has been designated the lead Krewe in the parade.

Lake Wales incorporated traditions from many different legendary festivals including feathered costumes from Rio, Dixieland Jazz, Blues, Country, Cajun food and masked pageantry from New Orleans.

The Lake Wales Mardi Gras was created in 1984 to celebrate the life of the owner of a Historic Polk County restaurant. The first Mardi Gras parade consisted of four Kewes, (The Mystick Krewe of Rex, The Mystick and Faire Krewe of Aphrodite, Royal Order of the Red Swans and Loyal Order of Wild Shiners.

And now, I know you want to join me in remembering the fun!

You have to have fried alligator, jambalaya, bourbon chicken and rice if you are at Mardi Gras.

 The sign on the cart says "Stud for Hire"

You are probably wondering what to do with all those beads you caught. Well why not add a little festival sparkle into your gift wrapping by incorporating beads into wrapping paper and the use the strands instead of ribbons or bows or use the beads to  cover a foam wreath form or as extra sparkle on grape vine wreaths.  If you don't like those ideas,what about using the beads for napkin rings or adornments on wine bottles for gift giving or beads as Halloween treats or goody bag stuffers.  I was also thinking about beads as an awesome Christmas garland on trees or jar filler for centerpieces.   Just let your imagination go as wild as a Mardi Gras parade.

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