Cajun country comes to Summit County with parades and more
Celebrate Mardi Gras ski town style
FRISCO — While Colorado’s High Country is miles away from New Orleans, the spirit of the Crescent City arrives each year in lavish style. It’s time to don your boas and beads, and make sure to dress up your four-legged friend, for a week of Mardi Gras celebrations throughout the county.
Getting the party started Saturday, Feb. 22, is the seventh annual Mardi Gras 4Paws dog parade and street party. Inspired by New Orleans’ Mystic Krewe of Barkus parade, the event will have costumed dogs parade at 3 p.m. along the sidewalks of Main Street from Third to Seventh avenues and then back up the other side of the street.
Plan to come early at 2:30 for a “yappy” hour street party at Third Avenue with beer from New Belgium Brewing, wine from Ava Grace Vineyards, and beignets and gumbo from The Lost Cajun.
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After the parade is a costume contest at 3:30 that will crown a king and queen dog, along with a “Belinda’s Best” category to commemorate the late Belinda Griffin, who inspired the event.
Advance registration is $20 and increases by $5 with each additional dog. It includes one bowl of gumbo or a drink, and all proceeds benefit Hope for Animals – Clear Creek Rescue. Registration and more information are available at TownOfFrisco.com.
Then on Fat Tuesday itself, Keystone will host its own Mardi Gras party from 2:30-5 p.m. Feb. 25 at River Run Village. Attendees can dance to free music by Chris Daniels and the Kings while chowing down on gumbo made by local and regional chefs. Guests can expect dishes from Summit County’s Kickapoo Tavern and Colorado Mountain College alongside Morrison’s The Manor House. Recipes feature some rare ingredients, including duck and rabbit.
Come hungry because official judges and the public rank the gumbo. Unlimited tasting bracelets for adults are $12 in advance or $15 at the gate. Kids can get in for $5 ahead of time or $8 the day of the event. Children will have their own voting ticket to pick their favorite dish. Kid’s celebrity chef Nicholas Hornbostel also will be present as a special guest.
Along with more than $1,600 in prize money, there is an award for best team spirit for the gumbo cook-off, so be sure to decorate your booth and arrive in your best costumes. The contest is open to anyone who thinks their gumbo can win, and there is no entry fee. Visit KeystoneFestivals.com for tickets and participation details.
A few days later and just down the road is Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s Mardis Gras Night at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at the 6th Alley Bar & Grill. The restaurant will feature a three-course southern dinner and bar specials.
Patrons first will be served a salad of mixed greens, port-soaked cranberries, almonds, Stilton and raspberry vinaigrette. For the entrée, guests will have cajun spiced duck breast, shrimp étouffée, rice and collard greens.
Save room for the dessert of bananas Foster cheesecake, cinnamon ice cream and warm bananas. The cost is $30 for adults and $15 for children ages 6-11. Visit ArapahoeBasin.com to make a reservation.
The Big Easy in Breckenridge
Arguably the county’s largest Mardi Gras festival happens in Breckenridge. This Tuesday, Feb. 25, will be a little different than parties in years past, since there are no floats for the Main Street parade. First enjoy a special lunch of gumbo and other authentic dishes with the former Mardi Gras kings and queens at Spencer’s Steaks & Spirits inside the Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center.
Then head to the neighboring Coppertop Bar & Cafe at 3 p.m. for a preparty before the Mardi Gras procession begins at 5:30. Parade royalty, along with the Denver-based Guerrilla Fanfare Brass Band, will lead the revelers to the Riverwalk Center. Winners of the Westword Music Award in the brass band category for two years in a row, Guerrilla Fanfare will take the stage at 6.
In addition to listening to the loud and rowdy horn players and percussionists, the Riverwalk Center will have food provided by The Lost Cajun and New Orleans style drinks like hurricanes throughout the night. Lastly, the king and queen will be crowned at 6:50, and headliners New Orleans Suspects close out the night of funky Bacchanalia. The group began as a pick-up band at The Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans in 2009 and has since released five albums that have established the group as one of New Orleans’ best supergroups.
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