Portland’s annual Mardi Gras celebration has been lauded by the New Orleans Times-Picayune as one of the top five most authentic 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 – the theme for this year’s event will be Rollin’ on the River. The ball will be held downtown on Saturday, February 10 at the Tiffany Center Emerald Ballroom, 1410 S.W. Morrison St. Previously, the events had been held at the Wonder Ballroom on Russell Street in the Eliot neighborhood. Doors open and music starts at 7:00 p.m.
On Fat Tuesday Evening, February 13, there will be a free parade on Mississippi Avenue, beginning at Victoria Bar, 4835 N. Albina, and heading south to Ecliptic Brewing, 825 N. Cook. Parade assembly is at 5:30 p.m. and the parade begins at 7:00 p.m. A kid’s costume contest will be held at Luke’s Frame Shop, 4703 N. Albina Ave., beginning at 6:00 p.m. and ending around 6:45 p.m. – when participants will join the parade as it marches by. There will be at least three 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.
“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. We also hand decorate 100 mini-umbrellas to give away as parade throws and we’ll have plenty of beads for folks to keep.”
The costume contest is judged by the current Mardi Gras King and Queen who will be crowned at the ball the Saturday before Mardi Gras. 2017’s royalty were King Phil Garfinkel and Queen Margo Phillips.
“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.
For more information, visit www.portlandmardigras.com.