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Mardi Gras in Columbia

by Sophie Pollock

City Roots Farm hosted its annual Mardi Gras celebration March 2, and locals flooded in decked out in their gaudy best. The family-friendly festivities kicked off with a traditional, much-anticipated parade, and afterward, there was music, food and drinks for all to enjoy.

Over 20 bands performed throughout the day on two separate stages, including Columbia-based band Stillhouse. John Scollon, the band’s rhythm guitarist and vocalist, said the festival is a great opportunity to gain exposure and connect with other local musicians.

“[Y]ou can meet and hang out with all these musicians at once and everybody takes turns watching each others’ set … It really is a glorious day for live music,” said Scollon. 

Scollon also runs the Columbia Marionette Theatre with his wife Karri. The theatre contributed a variety of puppets to the parade, including a 13-foot jester.

While the bands played every style of music from jazz to rock, attendees were invited to try a variety of food from local food trucks and beer from Abita, a New Orleans-based brewery that partnered with City Roots to put on the event. 

Michael Fondren, an Abita employee and Mardi Gras newcomer, thoroughly enjoyed the festivities. “There’s good food, good beer, and good music,” he said. According to Fondren, Abita was the perfect sponsor for the occasion because their ideals reflect the fun-loving spirit of Mardi Gras.

Local retailers were also invited to participate in the event by setting up booths around the farm to sell their wares. Local vendor Jackie Doying attended Mardi Gras for the first time this year. “I’m having a blast,” Doying said. “It turned into a beautiful day. It was a great turnout. I’ve had some great sales already so I’m glad to be here.” Doying enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the festival and plans to come back next year along with countless other satisfied locals.

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