To most, the words “Mardi Gras” conjure images of painted bodies, bright masks and metallic beads. But the history of the celebration centers around something a bit more fundamental — eating.
The annual party also known as “Fat Tuesday” draws people from all over the world to line the streets of New Orleans and feast before the traditional Lenten fasting season.
Accordingly, this Saturday, the Main Street District of Palestine will host its own version of the historic festival through the Second Annual A Taste of New Orleans.
The event will serve up a showcase of the local culinary talent through cooking demonstrations and complimentary tastings, and a parade to wash it all down. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., demonstrations will be held every 30 minutes at various locations in the Main Street District.
Palestine's historic buildings will be decorated in the spirit of Mardi Gras, where local chefs and wineries will be represented.
“We have something very unique in Palestine and that is our local flavor,” City of Palestine Marketing Manager Breezy Lake-Wolfe said. “From the wineries to restaurants and bakeries, and even award-winning chefs, Palestine is definitely becoming a destination for the culinary tourist.”
The tasting tour will culminate with the 5 p.m. Mardi Gras parade, complete with New Orleans-style jazz music and flying beads and moon pies.
Parade organizer Joellan Walley said this is the fourth year for Palestine to put on the Mardi Gras-themed parade.
“We have a good lineup in the parade,” she said.
Participants will include “four real Mardi Gras floats,” she said, along with The Jaywalkers Second Line Jazz Band from New Orleans, the Palestine High School Marching Band, the Shriners of Tyler, an antique ambulance from Corsicana, the Civil Air Patrol, and others – such as Corn Pop the clown, who will be walking around on stilts.