Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gloacester Mardi Gras

Feb. 6/2016

"Do something every day that draws a smile on your face". Like a Hot chocolate from the Cru coffee shop, made with grind up Beaufort chocolate bar. Sit down and share stories with my best friend, cheer people, say out loud: what a wonderful world! And today is Mardi Gras in Gloacester!

It was almost noon, we got back to the house from our walk and coffee expedition; wrapped our brains around our next adventure; put together bead, hats, feathers covered masks, stockings, colorful scarfs; then packed some beers in a cooler and headed to Gloacester, NC; a very small community down east. Build almost in the marshes, and flooded with the heavy rains we had in the coast for the last 4 month.

Gloacester has been celebrating Mardi Gras for the last 24 years. The people in the community had gather the night before to prepare a feast of delicious and made-with-love-food. The festival takes place in the community club, a small building with a stage for a band, the dance floor, 3 rows of chairs, nice bathrooms and a just finished deck, where a big speaker sat on a chair amplifying the band for those enjoying outdoor; surrounded by woods with picnic tables and other tents selling the anniversary t-shirts and the food court.

Most people wore costumes and masks, from the traditional, the sophisticated, to the simple and creative. The dance floor was busy the entire time. 4 different bands played cajun music with accordions, violins, standup bases and guitars. Little girls wearing tutus shook maracas and tambourines. The piñata: a gigantic red jalapeño was hanging from the trees above a yellow platform and the kids pointed at it every time they walked by, dancers were using that yellow stage too.

The whole ground was covered with grass straw someone donated for the event, which it made the place really nice after the rain the day before. Some people got there early and occupied the picnic tables, putting decoration and snacks, but they were glad to share the space and the food.

Someone told me they had celebrated Mardi Gras before under the rain, with snow on the ground and freezing cold. So everybody was thrill the weather was nice, despite the cold.

And off we went following the blue dragon filled with children; and followed by the band playing fun tunes that everybody sang along. It really drew a huge smile on my face, and to be honest, there was not a face without one.

After the parade they started serving the food. The line was long, but it went smooth. They had a donation box at the entrance of the line, and we were glad to donate for such a beautiful feast they had put together. The food was excellent: dirty rice, seafood and chicken-sausage jambalaya, fried turkey, cornbread and desserts. Everything was very testy!

We listened the first 3 bands and left to go home, because we were getting cold and damp. Specially since we were outside for a while watching the kids trying to break the jalapeño. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, if the children or the audience.

Shivering back to the car we couldn't stop laughing. We were not expecting to see this little town turn into a Carnival destination, where good neighbors gather to make people happy. 

My first Mardi Gras, the best one I'll ever remember.