Mardi Gras a Success
Parade & Great Skiing Bring Record Crowds
Story by John Thomas
This year’s Mardi Gras Parade was enjoyed by the huge crowd that gathered along Washington Street. The amazing weather-prophet rodent, Punxsutawney Phil was Grand Marshall sponsored by The Villager Newspaper. This year the Volunteer Fire Department participated; a couple of their big tucks adding a brawny counterpoint to the kids in bright costumes and gaily decorated floats. First place in the float competition went to the Holiday Valley Rangers with their hippy-themed VW mini-bus. Brian McFadden, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, said, “This was one of the busier Mardi Gras/Winter Carnival weekends in several years. Great snow conditions certainly helped. We were very excited to see the number of great floats that entered the parade.” Village Mayor John Burrell described the scene as a “well behaved good-sized crowd.” No one recorded an official tally of the parade watchers, but even the most casual observer would have said the gallery was the largest in years. Arleen Solly, owner of Kazoo II said her business had a “nice weekend.” She said she had heard “nothing but good things, and the energy was very positive.” After the parade restaurants reported doing a brisk business.
Holiday Valley reaped the benefits of the annual celebration, their own Winter Carnival, and an abundance of late-season snow. Jane Eshbaugh from Holiday Valley described the weekend as “awesome”. The ever-popular Dummy Downhill featured 13 dummies all sliding down the slopes and finishing, more or less, in one piece. The winner was the HMS Gin Mill, “who performed admirably to a cheering crowd”. The costume parade down the Mardi Gras run provided the sight of skiers sliding down the slopes with skeletons, peacocks, apes, cartons of milk, sharks, and Pac-man. New this year was the Kayak Cross that featured kayaks zooming down the hill in special cut lanes. According to Ms. Eshbaugh, “It was exciting to watch, and spectators could bet on who they thought would win, with the proceeds benefitting Holiday Valley’s Ride for Roswell team”. Saturday featured special events for kids including an obstacle race, a scavenger hunt, tubing and a dance party.
Once again Mardi Gras and Winter Carnival brought out the best of winter. Ms. Solly said the parade is “much better,” than a few years ago. The crowds along the parade route were all happily cheering the marchers, and enjoying the parade. Holiday Valley provided young and all with a fun and festive time. As Ms. Solly said, “It’s really coming back”.