Cooper Creek Square hosts Mardi Gras bash, Winter Park-style |

Cooper Creek Square hosts Mardi Gras bash, Winter Park-style

Cyndi McCoy
Grand County, Colorado
Courtesy of the Salida CircusCircus performers from Salida will be just one of many sources of entertainment during Cooper Creek Square's Mardi Gras festival on Fat Tuesday. The public is invited to clown around with acrobats, juggling jesters, 10-foot-tall stilt walkers and musicians as the square hosts what is hoped to become an annual event.

Fraser Valley residents will have the chance to overindulge in a little fun for Mardi Gras, just as French explorers did when they introduced their celebrations to North America around 1699.

Before the traditional time of Lent (giving up something one loves such as rich foods, chocolate and alcohol for what is usually 47 days before Easter), residents and guests are invited to “eat, drink and be merry” at Cooper Creek Square. As the sun goes down on Fat Tuesday, the lights go up for a pre-blues show festival and family fun.

A parade through the courtyard starts at 6:30 p.m. with horn players leading an eclectic entourage through the classic song “The Saints Go Marching In.” Adults and (supervised) children are invited to join in the lineup, making their own music with “whatever’s handy” (pots, pans, shakers, drums, kazoos), said Marie Hedrick, CCS marketing director. She encourages people to “show your true colors and come in costume.” Participants will be provided with masks and beads while supplies last.

The event also includes festive acrobats, jugglers and stilt walkers (weather permitting) from the Salida Circus. Grand County’s own Washboard Annie, who will be marching along in the parade, is also set to add her own pizzazz. There’s also a costume contest, prizes, Ear-to-Ear photo booth, and the square will be heavily decorated with special goings-on throughout the mall.

Rounding out the celebration is the Grand County Blues Society performance featuring Trampled Under Foot, winners of the 2008 International Blues Challenge and a “must-see” show at Smokin’ Moe’s. Tickets are $20 and will be available there, at Radio Shack, through, and at the door.

“TUF” band members are Danielle Schnebelen (bassist and lead vocalist), and her older brothers Kris (drums and vocals) and Nick (guitars and lead vocals). Songwriting consists of ideas from all three blues artists, who mostly play original material. Many of their songs reflect influences from top inspirations, to include Etta James, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and their mom.

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