The 11th annual Asheville Mardi Gras Parade will be blazing a new, half-mile route through the South Slope neighborhood on Sunday, February 11. Kick-off is at 3:05 p.m. from the corner of Coxe and Hilliard avenues. The parade is hosted by Asheville Mardi Gras, a local social aid, arts and culture club that, says communications director Michael Franco, “tries to bring a sense of fun and whimsy to the community all year long.”
Club members participate in the parade by joining or creating a group called a krewe. “Last year we had 24 different krewes marching in the parade and we’re likely to have even more this year,” says Franco. “Onlookers will be treated to lots of different costume themes, cool vehicles and fl oats, live and recorded music, plus the throwing of everything from beads to stuffed animals and toys.”
The optional theme for this year’s parade is AsheVillage People. “The parade’s executive committee felt that 2017 had been a particularly divisive year,” says Franco. “So, it decided to show that Asheville can rise above such squabbles by choosing a theme of inclusiveness and cooperation.”
Diane Curry, a leader this year for Krewe La La, was inspired to get involved with the parade as an onlooker four years ago. “It was clearly a concentration of unbridled fun, superb creativity and general frivolity,” she says. “The Asheville Mardi Gras parade is marvelous because it’s about celebrating life and setting aside time to play, for adults and families alike, while expressing creativity and indulging all your senses.”
Kate Chassner has marched in the parade for four years. “My sister and I moved to Asheville from New Orleans,” she says, “and Mardi Gras was such a fun and festive part of our life.” This will be her second year leading the Brewlu Krewe, which she organized with Sarah Jean Couture Smith. A nod to Beer City, most of Brewlu Krewe’s costumes are created using brewing supplies. The parade will be followed by the Queen’s Ball at Club 11 on Grove from 7–11 p.m. This free after-party will feature live music and an award for the best costume.
For more information, go to ashevillemardigras.org or visit the Asheville Mardi Gras Facebook page.