1000 x 90

Support the Arts Council at Meadowbrook’s Mardis Gras Celebration on Saturday

By Katie Benfield

Green, gold, purple and don’t forget the beads — whatever comes to mind when you think of Mardi Gras you’re sure to find this Saturday, Feb. 6. Come out and take part in the Watauga County Arts Council’s illustrious celebration at Meadowbrook Inn and Suites, its sponsor, in Blowing Rock.

From 6:30-10 p.m., you can have a great time dancing to jazz featuring local musician Todd Wright and others, while surrounded by the best Mardi Gras decorations in the High Country.

It is highly encouraged that you wear costumes or some form of festive dress to this celebration, but it’s not mandatory. If you wish to dress up but have nothing to wear, the event offers a mask bar where you can make your very own mask to join in the fun.

“We will have a place where you can make your own mask,” WAC Executive Director Cherry Johnson said. “It’s going to be run by Kathy Cook, a local sculptor here in Watauga County, and that’s going to be really great.”

Along with making your own mask, you can expect to participate in a wide variety of activities. According to Johnson, there’s going to be dancing, Mardi Gras trivia and a Congo line dance at the end of the celebration.

“It’s going to be so much fun. The trivia teams will be divided by tables, and whichever table wins gets all sorts of crazy prizes,” Johnson said. “We will also elect a king and queen, which is Mardi Gras tradition.”

That’s not the only tradition you can expect, though. Johnson said there will be a King’s Cake, baked by Joanne Hallmark of Hallmark Cakes.

This popular Mardis Gras cake is baked with a tiny plastic figurine of baby Jesus inside. According to tradition, if you get the piece of cake with the baby in it, you’ll have good luck; in the case of the WAC Mardi Gras, you’ll win a special prize.

“It’s really neat,” said Meadowbrook General Manager Vicky McLean. “There’s this tiny baby inside the cake. It’s very fun.”

Planning this celebration was something no one person could do alone. Johnson met with Wright, and the two agreed a great party could raise enough money to help the WAC get through the winter months. Finding an idea for the party was a task, but somehow the Mardi Gras theme broke the surface. Everyone involved loved the concept and started to make arrangements.

Johnson believes this is the perfect time for this kind of celebration.

“It’s a chance to have fun with friends after the holidays when nothing much is going on, and there’s not a lot happening or much fun,” Johnson said. “Also, though, it’s a great way to have a good time while supporting the WAC.”

The Meadowbrook Inn and Suites quickly jumped at the chance to host the event and help the WAC.

“Supporting the community is a really important part of who we are and how we want our business to be,” McLean said. “We really believe it takes a village to make everything happen, and so we want to work with organizations to help make their dreams happen and to fulfill their happiness.”

While the Meadowbrook likes to support the community in any way possible, the WAC is one organization that holds a special place in McLean’s heart.

“Art has helped lead me into this bigger, wider world and has helped me become who I am today,” McLean said. “My husband and I try to really support the arts in the area.

“I don’t know what I’d do without the arts — it feeds your heart, your brain and your soul.”

The event’s primary goal is to celebrate art and raise money for the WAC. However, Johnson said pulling the community together to make a difference is important, too.

“As executive director, it’s really fun to see everyone rallying around a project like this and enjoying,” Johnson said, “while also really helping out the WAC and raising money.”

Convinced yet?

Grab your Mardis Gras outfits and you’re dancing shoes, because it’s going to be a fun Saturday night!

The music, dancing and decorations will make you feel like you’re right there in Louisiana, and to top it off you’ll enjoy hors d’oeuvres of the Cajun persuasion and a cash bar.

“It’s going to be so much fun!” McLean said. “I hope a lot of people can come out and celebrate with us.”

The Spa at Eseeola will donate a special prize to the winner of a drawing that will take place at the end of the night.

“It’s going to be the last part of the celebration,” Johnson said, “and a great end to a wonderful, fun night.”

Tickets for the event are $37 if ordered online or over the phone and $40 at the door. There’s also an option to rent a table to share with close friends for $260.

Meadowbrook is located at 711 Main Street in Blowing Rock.

For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, call 828-264-1789 or visit the website.

If there’s inclement weather, the postponed snow date is Tuesday, Feb. 9.