~ The following first appeared in the The Floyd Press on February 14, 2013 with a larger spread of photos and captions
It was generally agreed by attendees and promoters that the 4th Annual Mardi Gras Costume Ball and Blue Mountain School fundraiser was the best attended Mardi Gras yet and featured the most elaborate and festive costumes. There were wigs that lit up, glowing fairy wings and plenty of face paint, feathers and beads.
The Floyd EcoVillage’s Village Center was transformed into a carnival atmosphere with balloons, banners, draped fabrics and strung lights throughout the three upstairs rooms – a large reception area, where food and beverages were served; the Conversation Café, where a Silent Auction took place; and the Celebration Hall, where music acts performed, attendees danced, costume contests took place and door prize winners were announced.
A Kiddie Gras took place in the lower level of the Village Center, where an alternative high school will soon be housed. The Kiddie Gras featured supervised games, crafts, face painting, snacks and kid’s movies.
“We got red hair, purple hair and orange hair,” shouted emcee Kerry Hurley as he looked out from the stage onto this year’s costume contest contestants. Hurley, of Fat Daddy Blues Band, was lead man of Lagniappe, the night’s featured band.
Other Lagniappe luminaries were Tom Snediker from The Kind, and Floyd’s own Floydfest founder Kris Hodges (on drums) and Jefferson Center’s Artistic Director and former Yams From Out of Space member, Dylan Locke.
Together the musicians kept the dancers moving, playing iconic New Orleans Mardi Gras songs, like Mardi Gras Mambo and Iko Iko.
The Mardi Gras fundraiser and celebration was also a tribute to the late Tom Ryan, the first crowned King who conceived of and promoted the event.
Ryan, who owned the Republic of Floyd Emporium, passed away unexpectedly last month. He grew up in New Orleans and was known to love a good party. Hurley dedicated a song to Ryan, and Jamiel Allen, of “The Opening Act” debuted a song he wrote for Ryan, which included a refrain of maybe I’m dreaming … and … I just want to be free.
“Before Mickey G’s, before Dogtown, there was still pizza!” Mardi Gras organizer Jamie Reygle announced as he called Liz Stucki (one time owner of Mama Lizardos Pizza) on stage to be crowned this year’s Mardi Gras Queen. The crowd applauded Stucki and cheered as Ryan’s son Edward, wearing his father’s Mardi Gras coat, crowned this year’s King: Floyd mayor Will Griffin.