By CHERIL VERNON
The fun and excitement of Mardi Gras will come to life in Palestine today with the third annual Mardi Gras Parade themed “Hello America!” hosted by the Mystics of Time Mardi Gras Krewe.
The parade will start at 5 p.m. with a route going from the Anderson County Courthouse down Avenue A onto Oak Street before concluding at the Palestine Visitor’s Center on Spring Street.
The public is invited to participate with parade riders and Krewe members planning to toss trinkets, including beads and candies from the floats.
For safety purposes, parade goers are asked not to approach floats but to let the Krewe toss goodies to them.
In addition, Palestine’s Main Street District will host a pre-parade “Taste of New Orleans” celebration from 1 to 5 p.m. featuring events such as Louisiana-style cuisine prepared by local chefs and paired with wines from local wineries, children’s activities, art and more.
The Main Street program and The Friends of Main Street, a non-profit organization for the Main Street District, joined forces with the Mystics of Time Mardi Gras Krewe to host the parade and celebration.
“The continuing goal of the event is to offer a memorable family time that draws people locally and from surrounding areas to our wonderful downtown,” said Jean Mollard, president of the Main Street Board for the City of Palestine.
A Taste of New Orleans will start at 1 p.m. with food demonstrations from chefs including:
• 1 p.m. Chef Jack Kraatz, Bella Sera Ranch, paired with Texas Vineyard and Smokehaus.
Chef Jack is self-taught in the culinary arts after his interest in cooking began as a young man. As the executive chef at Bella Sera Ranch, he has created a diverse menu that specializes in Italian sauces, Texas smokehouse and southern-style cooking. He will demonstrate his favorite appetizers Savannah Shrimp, Crab Cakes and Jalapeno Poppers.
His demonstration will be located inside Lee Loveless Photography at 101 W. Oak St.
• 2 p.m. Chef Simon Webster, Sabor a Pasión, and Chef Christine Gardner, food editor Tyler Morning Telegraph, paired with Granny Muffin Wines — Chef Simon Webster is the owner and chef at Sabor a Pasión Country House & Bistro in Palestine. He was born in England and raised in New Zealand where he was classically trained at the New Zealand Culinary Institute through the City & Guilds of London. His experience spans 40 years. In 2004, he opened Sabor a Pasión, creating a restaurant, bed & breakfast, event center, wedding venue, catering headquarters and vineyard.
Tyler Morning Telegraph Food Editor Christine Gardner writes feature stories and recipes for the Tyler paper’s “Flavor” section, which is published every Wednesday. She also appears on KYTX-CBS 19 every Tuesday demonstrating recipes on FRESH Ideas sponsored by FRESH by Brookshire’s. She has degrees in Journalism from Texas A&M & Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu. As part of her culinary studies she apprenticed in Sorrento, Italy.
Webster will prepare sausage and shrimp jambalaya and Gardner will prepare mocktails. The demonstration will be located inside Granny Muffin Wines at 301 W. Oak St.
• 3 p.m. Lulu Dyess, Fork in the Road, paired with Sweet Dreams Winery — Lulu Dyess was born and raised in Palestine and has always had a knack for adventure. From her forays at St. Edward’s University to Austin’s live music scene to film festivals in Marfa, one cannot describe Lulu as “stationary,” which is the inspiration for her new adventure, Fork In The Road, an innovative food truck. With her business partner, UT graduate and fashion-stylist, Hunter Lohse, these two former Austinites are touring East Texas in a food truck serving up dreams, art, community, and most importantly: Tacos.
Lulu will be preparing her Nola Red Dreams & Rice. The demonstration will be located inside Lee Loveless Photography at 101 W. Oak St.
• Downtown shops will be offering Mardi Gras specials inside their stores — just look for the green, gold and purple window decorations which means there is something special inside.
Some of the specials to expect are 20 percent off any one item at Duncan Depot, 25 percent off any one item at Lé Fashion when you say “Let the Good Times Roll,” 50 to 60 percent off select items at the Co-ed Shop and Mardi Gras music at Oxbow Bakery and Old Magnolia. Maps with details will be available this weekend at many locations downtown.
“We encourage people to make an afternoon of it and enjoy everything Main Street has to offer. The entire board is excited to join the Mystics of Time and all the other local organizations that make the event so much fun,” Main Street Manager Laura Westgate said. “The Main Street Mardi Gras Parade and Celebration is an annual event of the Main Street Board and they look forward to it every year.”
In addition to the sales, various businesses will host an artist or activity. Participating artists include a face painter and a silhouette artist, who are both donating their services. There also will be a caricature artist that features both black and white and color sketches. A donation was made of art supplies to allow children an opportunity to cut and color a mask for the parade.
A highlight for the Main Street District 2013 parade will be the inclusion of live music during the parade provided by Dave Washburn’s Three-Quarter Fast Jazz Band and Bruce Flett’s Rhythm Section Band, and returning for another appearance is the Espuelas de Plata mariachi band.
For more information regarding the Mardi Gras Parade and celebration visit www.facebook.com/palestinemainstreet or call the Palestine Visitor Information Center at 903-723-3014.