MOHAWK -- Keweenaw Krayons' 7th Annual Mardi Gras Festival will host an exciting lineup of local musicians, as well as a Cajun-style feast catered by restaurants throughout the Keweenaw, from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, March 8, at the Horizons Alternative High School in Mohawk.
AnnA Sanchez, a former member of Keweenaw Krayons, assists in making masks for a previous Mardi Gras celebration. AnnA now lives in Elkhorn, Wis. (Photos courtesy Keweenaw Krayons, except where indicated otherwise.)
Horizons will be transformed into Mohawk’s very own French quarter, complete with live blues and dancing. This year’s event also features a costume contest, the winner of which will be chosen by popular support. All guests are encouraged to dress up and strut their stuff in the Mardi Gras parade for a chance to win a cash prize.
"We invite attendees to embrace the carnivale spirit with gusto this year!" said Mardi Gras organizer, Diana Langdon. "Wear a costume from home or put it together at our mask making and face painting. What a great way to chase away the midwinter blahs!"
This year's event will combine music, food and art to raise money for three very worthy causes: Keweenaw Krayons; Horizon’s leadership program, S.T.A.R.S. (Success, Teamwork, Achievement, Recognition and Self-Esteem); and Lyanne Stemler, who is working to raise cancer awareness in honor of her late mother, artist Renee Stemler.
Lyanne Stemler, one of the partners of this year's Keweenaw Krayons' Mardi Gras Festival fundraiser, works on an art project in one of the studios of the Horizon School in Mohawk. Lyanne is working to raise cancer awareness in honor of her late mother, artist Renee Stemler. (Keweenaw Now file photo)
The evening will start off with the Backroom Boys, a jazz and blues trio featuring Oren Tikkanen on banjo and guitar, John Munson playing saxophone and clarinet, and Bob Norden on trombone. Singer-songwriter Jonathan Soper, guitarist and accomplished mouth trumpeter, will be debuting new material. The festival will conclude with recent Reach for the S.K.Y. Talent Show winners, March of the Snails. George Butuala is the evening’s MC.
Artist Becky Weeks models one of her original masks for a previous Keweenaw Krayons Mardi Gras celebration.
Mardi Gras revelers will also be treated to a selection of toothsome dishes donated by Keweenaw restaurants. The Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is providing appetizers: crab tarts; andouille sausage in puff pastry with coarse mustard; and beignets with berry sauce. The Mariner North is serving up a delicious pot of hearty gumbo with chicken, shrimp and sausage. The Keweenaw Co-op is serving a vegetarian gumbo, and Carmelita’s is providing jambalaya. Jim’s Pizza and Shelden Grill have also signed on to provide food.
Keweenaw Krayons Board President Darlene Basto models a Mardi Gras mask.
"We’re so grateful to our sponsor restaurants," said event organizer, Elise Matz. "These businesses have really come through for us, and we appreciate their support for this wonderful organization."
Tickets are still on sale through Tuesday, March 8, at retailers throughout the Keweenaw. Sellers include the 5th and Elm Coffee House in both Calumet and Houghton; Nagamoon Gifts of Calumet; Morty's Fresh and Easy of Lake Linden; Mohawk Superette of Mohawk; and the Mariner North in Copper Harbor. Those who wish to purchase tickets can also see Sue Fouts at Calumet Schools to buy a ticket from her; or come to the Horizon's School office during school hours.
Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Infants and toddlers who will not be eating are free. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults and $5 for children.