Marching for Mardi Gras: Moscow celebrates masked holiday Saturday

By MICHELLE SCHMIDT INLAND360.COM

Mardi Gras Events, Saturday, March 1, 2014, at a Glance: 8 to 10:30 a.m. – Biscuits and gravy at Moscow Masonic Lodge 10 a.m. – Family activities begin at Friendship Square and downtown businesses 11 a.m. – Parade at Main Street in Moscow Noon -3:30 p.m. – Family Mardi Gras at Main Street businesses and Friendship Square. 8 p.m. Down North at UI Administration Auditorium and Simba and the Exceptional Africans at One World Café 9 p.m. – Adult Mardi Gras

Moscow Mardi Gras is for the kids. The parade is family-friendly, the day is filled with free activities for children and even the nighttime celebrations — though kids can’t attend — brings in money for area youth programs.

The celebration on Saturday, March 1 is undergoing a renewed emphasis on being a civic event that appeals to all ages and this year many of the family festivities will be sponsored by downtown businesses. “Last year we added kids’ events and this year we’re bringing it out into the community,” said Genevieve Bendel, president of Moscow Mardi Gras. “We’re trying to make it more than a pub crawl.”

All family events are offered free of charge. Donations are accepted at various locations and proceeds from those and ticket sales go toward a fund that awards grants for youth programs. Last year more than $10,000 was distributed to 14 youth and community charities. Grant applications are available at www.moscowmardigras.com and will be accepted until Friday.

Event highlights include: Daytime Fun

Mardi Gras festivities kick off with a biscuits and gravy breakfast at Moscow’s Masonic Lodge. Donations from the breakfast will go toward the youth grant fund. By midmorning, several family activities will be offered (see Free Daytime Activities for Families) and the 11 a.m. parade will roll down Moscow’s Main Street. The afternoon is filled with crafts, activities, music, scavenger hunts, performances, story time and more at participating businesses. Event volunteers are still needed; those interested can contact Bendel at (208) 596-3145.

Evening Concerts

Just because you’re under 21 doesn’t mean you have to miss out on Mardi Gras music. New to the celebration this year are two evening concerts at all-age venues. Down North, who describes their music as “underground rock and party-fueling soul,” will perform at the University of Idaho Administration Auditorium. The concert is sponsored by Vandal Entertainment. Simba and the Exceptional Africans, an Afro-fusion group, will perform at One World Café. Both concerts are free of charge and donations will be collected for the youth grant fund.

Nighttime Concerts

Mardi Gras festivities for those 21 and older kick off at 9 p.m. Soul Siren will perform at The Garden Lounge, McTuff at John’s Alley, The Fabulous Kingpins at Mingles, Bare Wires at the Eagles Lodge and Sweatshop Union at the Moose Lodge. T ickets for the evening are $15/advance or $20/door. The fee includes entry into all venues, as well as bus service, which will run from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Stops are at Zeppoz and North Grand Village in Pullman and at Friendship Square and Eagles Lodge in Moscow. Discounts on cab rides are also included. Tickets are on sale at music venues, Zeppoz in Pullman, Keeney Brothers, Guitar’s Friend and Safari Pearl in Moscow.

Free Daytime Activities for Families Include:

Friendship Square will host face painting, guessing games, a cakewalk, scavenger hunt and more from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nourish Yoga is hosting two kids’ yoga classes, the first from 12:30 to 1 p.m., the second from 1:30 to 2 p.m. Space is limited, so organizers are recommending coming 15 minutes early to register and sign a waiver.

Gnosh will help kids create noisemakers from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those who get theirs done before the 11 a.m. parade are invited to enter in the Noise Maker Marching Band. Brunch will be available for purchase from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and proceeds go to the youth grant fund.

Tye Dye Everything and Mikey’s Gyros are partnering to help kids make tie-dye socks — Tye Dye Everything is providing the materials and Mikey’s Gyros is providing the space.

BookPeople of Moscow is hosting a story time; families can stop by between noon and 3 p.m. to listen to stories.

Kenworthy Performing Arts Theatre is hosting performances from Festival Dance, Julie’s Dance, local young musicians and more from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Wild At Art will have materials for kids to make Mardi Gras masks.

Second Chance Pawn is hosting a Super Smash Bros. Tournament at 3:30 p.m. Store credit prizes are awarded, but space is limited and registration is between 9:30 and 10 a.m. to save a spot. Hodgins, Casa Lopez and Moscow Bagel & Deli are all hosting other family-friendly activities. Schmidt can be contacted at themichelleschmidt@gmail.com or at (208) 305-4578.

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