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2nd Annual Mardi Gras Block Party


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Mardi Gras – also known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday – is a day set aside for indulgence. Stemming from ancient pagan spring and fertility rites, the revelry was incorporated into Christian traditions rather than eradicated altogether, and the celebration is meant as a kind of last hurrah before the more somber and solemn upcoming forty days of Lent, traditionally a time of fasting and penance. You may or may not be steadfast in your religious observations – no judgment! – but one thing’s for sure: Mardi Gras is synonymous with having a good time, everybody likes having a good time, and Downtown Macon Community Association, in partnership with Parish on Cherry, Travis Jean Emporium, and NewTown Macon, is bringing that good time to the streets downtown for the second annual Mardi Gras Block Party on February 13.

      Last year’s event was a rousing success. “Around four hundred people RSVP-ed to the Facebook event last year,” says Travis Jean’s Scott Mitchell, “and we ended up having over two thousand people show up. It was crazy. This year we’ve got tons more planned, so we’re ready for the crowds!” The celebration will kick off at 4 pm this year and will go until 10 pm, with kid-friendly events happening til 7. There’ll be a stage set up at Cherry and 2nd Street with live music from Barrelhouse, and local foodie vlogger Robert Grant, aka That Guy You Met Today, will be serving as emcee. The Creek 100.9 FM will also be on hand to help celebrate. The alley between Travis Jean and Lamar Lofts will transform into a carnival, with games, prizes, face-painting, a cakewalk, and The 567’s Art on a Cart is coming to help little ones make their own feathered mask. You can also dress your pups up and bring them down for the Dog Strut – the $10 entry fee benefits All About Animals Rescue, and you can pre-register at Travis Jean or register on site. All About Animals will also bring some adoption-ready dogs down to enjoy the party and possibly meet their new owners, so if you’re in the market for a new furry best friend, this is the place to find one.

It wouldn’t be Mardi Gras without plenty of good food and drinks, of course, so you can look forward to some delectable Cajun and Creole specials from downtown restaurants. Parish on Cherry, a New Orleans-style eatery, will have a tent out front serving shrimp & grits and beignets, and they’ll also offer specials on Hurricanes and the intriguingly-named Mermaid Water at their outdoor bar. Beer trucks will also be available, so no partygoer will have to go emptyhanded for too long.

At 5 pm, members of Highland Hills Baptist Church will be downtown sharing sweetness with festivalgoers in the form of pancakes – in some traditions, pancakes were the go-to treat on Fat Tuesday, since many people gave up animal products during Lent and needed to use up all their eggs, milk, and butter beforehand. You can also return to Cherry Street on Ash Wednesday to receive your ashes from Highland Hills and mark the beginning of Lent.

Travis Jean will be open with a fun assortment of gear available for purchase to make your evening more festive – there will be beads (both simple and fancy varieties), boas, feathers, masks, hats, and more. Mardi Gras colors are traditionally purple, green, and gold – purple to symbolize justice, green for faith, and gold for power. And the tradition of wearing masks was started as a way to escape societal pressure; some people found it easier to get into the true indulgent spirit of Mardi Gras under the cover of anonymity. And what better way to fly under the radar than wearing a gaudy, glittery, feather-festooned mask?

Downtown business owners are excited about the prospect of this event growing even bigger; they’re already looking ahead to next year’s festivities, considering the option of having two stages and blocking off more space for partying purposes. “Everything we do, we do because we want to support and build up these local businesses,” says Parish on Cherry’s Chrissy Lynn Eiszner. Head downtown on Tuesday and make this event your new Mardi Gras tradition – bring your kids, your friends, and your dogs; eat some amazing food; be a part of the vibrant downtown scene; enjoy the liberation of wearing a feather boa around in public; and most of all, let the good times roll.

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