Once again, the fellowship hall at Holy Angels Catholic Church in Mount Airy will come alive with jazz, beads, masks and authentic Creole cuisine as the community gathers to celebrate the start of Lent with a Mardi Gras celebration.
This year’s celebration kicks off on Friday at 6 p.m.
Organizer Adrienne Belle said a traditional New Orleans dinner will be served from 6 to 8 p.m., with dancing and a traditional Mardi Gras parade scheduled from 8 to 10 p.m.
Music for the celebration, which has been an annual favorite for more than a decade, will be provided by DJ Donnie Belle.
The annual celebration is an observance of the start of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday following Fat Tuesday.
“Mardi Gras literally means ‘fat Tuesday,’” said Belle. “It is part of the religious observance leading into Lent and was traditionally used to clean out the cupboards before the season of Lent.”
And there will certainly be food.
Those in attendance will have the chance to fill up on such classic dishes as red beans and rice, Creole File’ Gumbo with sausage and chicken, Jambalaya and Creole Seafood Gumbo. And of course, there will be King Cake, the traditional cake with a baby doll baked inside to represent the three kings who brought gifts to the Christ Child.
Tradition dictates that whoever receives the doll in their piece of cake must buy the next King Cake or throw the next party.
Last year, the celebration drew about 150 revelers, and Belle said she hopes for at least that many people this year.
“We have a whole lot of fun,” she said. “There is a traditional parade inside the church. We throw beads and basically it’s all the stuff you’d find at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.”
Often, people who attend the event dress for the occasion, according to the organizer.
“People are welcome to come in costume if they want to, and otherwise the attire is flexible,” she said. “This is just a night to get together and have a good time.”
The annual celebration is sponsored by the Columbiettes, the ladies auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus. Proceeds from the celebration will be used for service events in the community.
Tickets for the Mardi Gras party are $10 in advance and $13 at the door, and can be purchased by calling Belle at 710-1481.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.