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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mardi Gras outside the box

             Carnival parades, balls and parties take over South Louisiana this time of year. If you’re a visitor to Lafayette wanting to experience Mardi Gras but will miss the actual dates, or perhaps want a smaller more family-friendly version, there are several events happening in the next few weeks to get you in the Mardi Gras spirit.
            Vermilionville hosts a traditional Cajun country Mardi Gras run, or Courir de Mardi Gras, on Sunday. Feb. 16, at the historic village. The Basile Mardi Gras Association will perform the courir at 11 a.m., visiting the village’s homes to beg for ingredients for a gumbo and perform Cajun Carnival traditions along the way.
Vermilionville Courir de Mardi Gras
            Other activities include a children’s capuchon (Carnival hat) workshop, a children’s courir, performances by the Pine Leaf Boys and Mardi Gras King Cake cooking demonstrations with Marie Walthers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Vermilionville’s Cooking School.
            Admission is $5, children under 5 admitted free. For more information, visit Vermilionville.org or call (337) 233-4077. 
            Want to have a ball but don’t belong to a Carnival “Krewe” or the organization that hosts the region’s Carnival balls? The Red Hot Mardi Gras Ball is for anyone looking to attend a Carnival ball — and this event features Lafayette Mayor Joey Durel as King Cayenne I! The event will be held on Valentine’s night, Feb. 14, at The District & Event Center on Johnston Street featuring the band 5th Avenue. Tickets are $35 per person and $250 for a table, available at both locations of Schlotsky’s Deli in Lafayette. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/KreweDeBayouMardiGrasBall.
Horse Farm
            The Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm will host “Mardi Gras at the Market” on Saturday, March 1, in honor of the Acadian Mardi Gras traditions still celebrated in south Louisiana today. The morning’s activities will include musical performances by the Cajun music group BonSoir Catin, followed by Corey Ledet and his Zydeco Band. A Creole Mardi Gras group from Lafayette will dress in traditional costume and share their group’s Carnival history and a Cajun Courir de Mardi Gras will take place at 11:30 a.m. and continue until 1:15 p.m. when the Children’s Parade approaches the nearby corner of Johnston Street and South College. (Parade parking will be available at the Horse Farm from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., weather permitting.)
            Locals and visitors are invited to dress, sing and parade with the courir revelers as they beg hosts stationed on the Horse Farm for gumbo ingredients. In keeping with the rural tradition, the prize ingredient will be a live chicken for the revelers to chase. Logan Farm’s Honey Glazed Ham will sponsor a communal gumbo sampling for all courir participants and the Children’s Museum of Acadiana will host a Mardi Gras mask decorating booth for children featuring mask templates from several Mardi Gras costume traditions. The UL-Lafayette Public History Program’s “Museum on the Move” will be parked at the Horse Farm displaying its exhibit on Louisiana woman of the 20th century. For more information, visit www.marketatthehorsefarm.com.

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