Heritage Center plans Mardi Gras party

January 18, 2007

The Heritage Center is bringing a little bit of New Orleans to the area next month.

The center, 109 Delaware St. in Leavenworth, is preparing for its first-ever Mardi Gras, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17.

Connie Anderson, program director at the center, said volunteers were busily constructing festive props to enhance the atmosphere of the Mardi Gras, a celebration of food and drink before the annual religious period of Lent.

Mardi Gras or "fat Tuesday" is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Also known as "Carnival," Mardi Gras has transformed into many celebrations outside of New Orleans, which is home to the most famous celebration of its type.

The Heritage Center's Mardi Gras will be on a Saturday to allow more residents to attend, she said.

The organizing committee is encouraging everyone attending to wear festive dress or a mask if they desire.

A king and queen will be chosen to preside over the evening gala.

Individuals or organizations can gather a court together, consisting of a king, queen, prince, princess, duke and duchess, and sell votes for 25 cents each. The court with the most money raised will take its place of honor on velvet thrones and reign over the crowd, throwing beads to guests, Anderson said. Proceeds will benefit the center.

Guests to the Mardi Gras, which is open to the public, can join in the festivities, including food stations. Cajun cuisine, such as red beans and rice, jambalaya and kings cake, will be available as will hamburgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, doughnuts and popcorn.

Music by a seven-piece Louisiana jazz band will entertain the guests.

Organizers say only a limited number of tickets will be available. Call the center, (913) 682-2122, or stop by the center from 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday to reserve your tickets.

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