It’s Mardi Gras, Ya’ll
Beads will be flying and Earl Cate will be smiling Saturday when Fayetteville’s annual Mardi Gras parade, the Parade of Fools, rolls through town. Cate, guitarist for the Cate Brothers Band will be the parade Grand Marshal.
The family-friendly parade (translation: no boobs, no debauchery) starts at 2 p.m. Saturday. It begins on Dickson Street near the UA campus, travels Dickson Street to Block Avenue and ends at the Fayetteville Square.
At the Square, DJ’s from Power 105.7 will preside over the float judging, the Society for Creative Anachronism will be acting up and slices of what is being touted as the world’s largest King Cake (the traditional Mardi Gras cake) will be sold for $1 a slice.
The parade is organized by the Demented Krewe of Dickson, which leads an informal association of local krewes, such as the Krewe of Olympia and the Krewe of Barkus, The Krewe of Olympia has become known for it’s extravagant, award-winning floats. The Krewe of Barkus, a new krewe, was organized by pet lovers who dress up their canines in Mardi Gras garb for the parade. This year the giant First Night Puppets will join the parade.
In addition to the big parade on Saturday, the Demented Krewe will parade and party with the residents of City Hospital on Friday. The parade will be led by The Billy Zydeco Band.
Mardi Gras festivities will wrap up on Tuesday night when the Demented Krewe and their royal court convenes at 6:30 p.m. at Jose’s Streetside pavilion on Dickson Street for a Cajun dinner. At 8 p.m. the krewe will hold a coronation ceremony to crown this year’s king and queen before they take to the street for their annual Mardi Gras night second-line foot parade on Dickson Street. The dinner is open to the public on a first-come first-served basis.
The Billy Zydeco Band will lead the royal court and revelers to the street for the parade. The court consists of the king and queen—whose identity is kept secret until the coronation—and the royal court: Jean Button, Royal Authenticator and Keeper of the Kreed; Bob Moers, Grand and Most Mystical Poobah; Ralph Odom, the Demented Grand Duke; Dixie Rhyne, the Demented Duchess; and Suzanne Ray, the Duchess of Pearls.
Power 105.7 will be at Jose’s from 6 to 8 p.m. and 92.1 The Keg will broadcast from the balcony of HogHaus.
Mardi Gras translates from the French to Fat Tuesday. In New Orleans it is the convulsive finale to two weeks of parades and parties that lead up to Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
The first Mardi Gras parade in Fayetteville was a foot parade on Dickson Street 19 years ago when Restaurant on the Corner was located on the corner of Dickson Street and Rollston Street where the Three Sisters Building now sits. Wait staff from the restaurant dressed in Mardi Gras costumes and paraded in the street.
The Demented Krewe of Dickson was formed in 1992 when the first king and queen were crowned. Another seminal event was a visit during Mardi Gras season by Coleen Salley of New Orleans, who reigns over New Orleans’ Krewe of Coleen and was Queen of New Orleans’ famed Krewe du Vieux in 2004.
In keeping with the charitable roots of the New Orleans krewes, the Demented Krewe of Dickson will present a donation to the Fayetteville Humane Society during the post-parade events Saturday on the Square. The HSO was selected as recipient by the 2006 Mardi Gras King and Queen, Bu and Margie Waggoner. Proceeds from the King Cake sales on Saturday will be donated to the Seven Hills Homeless Shelter.
The list of past royalty according to the Royal Authenticator and Keeper of the Kreed, Jean Button:
1992 Bill and Betty Harrison
1993 Raymond O. W. Jones, Jr. and Dixie Rhyne
1994 Craig Mauritson and Cindi Story
1995 Ralph Odom and Carol Reed
1996 Mary Hinton and Bruce Walker
1997 Bob Moers and Phyllis Chenowith
1998 Steve and Kay Phillips
1999 Harold and Stacey Wieties
2000 Neil Williamson and Maura Meyers
2001 Nick Kumpe and Suzanne Ray
2002 Evan Howell and Jean Button
2003 Nancy Couch and Don McCollough
2004 Dan Kerlin and Anita LeFlett
2005 Chaddie Kumpe and Charlie Platt
2006 Bu and Margie Waggoner