For those who have yet to experience the vibrant atmosphere of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, your chance may come this weekend.
Railroad Square Art Park located at 623 Industrial Drive is bringing the culture of New Orleans to Tallahassee with its sixth annual ArtiGras Festival on Saturday.
ArtiGras is a free Mardi Gras themed festival organized by the Cultural Arts Alliance at Railroad Square. The organization celebrates the culture and arts of New Orleans.
CAARS has been a non-profit organization for six years.
Second year executive director, Laura Floyd said that last year’s ArtiGras had its largest attendance in a non-first-Friday event at the “Square” in 30 years.
“We had 4,501 people, it almost tripled the attendance from the previous year and it was really lively,” Floyd said.
The event is separated into two parts, the family festival and parade from 2-6 p.m., and the evening field concert from 7-11 p.m., which is preferably for the adults. Food trucks will be there serving special New Orleans style dishes.
Floyd also does the marketing for the Railroad Square property, and explains the set-up for the family festival and parade.
Floyd noted, “We have mask making, instrument making, like teaching kids how to make instruments out of recyclable materials. We’ve got all sorts of art vendors and non-profit booths, and musicians scattered all over the park.”
The day transitions into the parade at 4:30 p.m., which includes several New Orleans-style bands, belly dancers from Florida State University, the Bahamian Rhythm Rushers, and the Caribbean Student Association from Florida A&M University.
As night falls, the party for adults will be in full swing, with a New Orleans field concert under the stars. Featured performers are: The Common ‘Taters and the Turn-Ups, along with four-time Grammy nominated fiddler, accordionist, and songwriter Cedric Watson and the Bijou Creole, from Louisiana.
“It’s fun, I mean it’s just like a swamp party, we’ve got craft beer and dancing with all these dance groups with cool costumes, like a real Mardi Gras thing,” Floyd said enthusiastically.
FAMU graduate student, Kia Richardson, attended the event last year. Richardson shared her thoughts on the ArtiGras experience.
Richardson said that last year was the first time she went to ArtiGras and she did not regret a minute of it.
“My experience last year was great,” Richardson said.“The atmosphere was lively and the food was pretty good also.”
Virgil Fripp will be attending the event for the first time this year. Fripp said he doesn’t know what to expect.
“I’m just going because I heard it was an all-around good vibe from sun-up to sun-down with the music, food, and dancing,” Fripp said.
For more information about ArtiGras visit www.tallahasseedowntown.com/events/arti-gras-railroad-square