Portland’s annual Mardi Gras Ball on Mississippi has been listed by the New Orleans Times-Picayune as one of the top five Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. (Outside of Louisiana.) Produced since 2010 by the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus – a social club founded by Louisiana expatriates – this is no half-hearted, plastic-bead and powdered, hurricane-mix party, but a critical mass of Louisiana revelry with full-costume finery and high-spirited indulgence.
“The ball and the parade are a great way for the community and for families to participate in an international celebration that promotes post-Katrina, Louisiana culture,” said Laura Lawrence of the Mysti Krewe. “It’s a big party in the middle of the worst part of the year and it’s a chance to get out of the house and dance and wear blinky costumes and shine!”
This year’s theme will be “Life is a Carnival.” The ball will be on Saturday, February 6, at the Wonder Ballroom on Russell Street. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and music starts at 7:45 p.m. Musical acts include the Bridgetown Sextet, the Too Loose Cajun and Zydeco Band, Bloco Alegria and an All-Star Tribute to Allen Toussaint, featuring dozens of local artists. There will also be a costume contest, the crowning of the Mardi Gras King and Queen and free traditional king cake.
On Mardi Gras Day, February 9, there will be a free parade on Mississippi, starting at Victoria Bar, 4835 N. Albina, and heading south to Ecliptic Brewing, 825 N. Cook. Parade assembly is at 6:00 p.m. and the parade begins at 7:00 p.m. There will be at least four bands marching this year and costume awards will be presented in multiple categories. Neighbors are encouraged to dress up and march along. After the parade, there will be parties, costume awards and Mardi Gras music all along the avenue.
“We hope to build community through events like the parade and bringing the traditional Louisiana Mardi Gras experience to the Pacific Northwest,” said longtime Mississippi organizer Bridget Bayer. Sponsors of this year’s celebration include the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus, the Historic Mississippi Business Association, Mississippi Pizza Pub and Gumbo Gifts and Gallery. For more information, visit www.portlandmardigras.com.