The sixth annual event held by the Cultural Arts Alliance at Railroad Square brought the city of Tallahassee out, celebrating the culture and arts of New Orleans on Saturday.
CAARS is a small non-profit group led by second-year executive director, Laura Floyd.
Amanda Espinel, a fourth-year Hospitality Management student at Florida State University, and also an intern for Floyd, shared her thoughts about the preparation for the festival.
“It’s been a lot, I’ve been contacting people, contacting all of the art vendors making sure they want to come,” Espinel said. “I’ve emailed schools and marching bands and got them involved. What I’ve experienced is that it is a lot of work, it’s just Laura, and then it’s just me and two other interns.”
The family fest and parade was the first half of the event from 2-6 p.m., and an early indicator of how the day would go. Families immediately showed up in large numbers, participating in the activities such as: Fiddling lessons, and mask making.
Floyd was pleased with the turnout of the family fest and parade although things happened quickly.
“We got bum rushed, we had a huge wave of people very early. The Parade had four different bands in it and kids with Kazoos. We had Hula Hoopers and acrobats, vintage cars, the marching band and Junkanoos with the CSA dancers,” Floyd said.
“It was intense,” she added. "Lots of masks were being made, and instruments were being made out of recyclable material. It was very lively.”
The day transitioned from day to night, and so did the scenery. Families left and couples strolled in, the sun went down and the stages lit up. While waiting for the field concert, people relaxed at Proof Brewery to enjoy music and a beer or two.
Everyone made their way to the field as the performers began to set up. The concert featured FAMU’s Professor, Janet Decosmo’s “The Common Taters and the Turn-Ups.”
Four-time Grammy-nominee, Cedric Watson headlined the event. The fiddler, accordionist, and songwriter brought the spirit of New Orleans with his creole music, culture, and language.
“Cedric Watson just brings a big crowd anyway because he is four-time Grammy-nominated, he is charming, he is fun. Everybody loves him," Floyd noted.
Ashlyn Countee is a Louisiana native and was in Tallahassee to visit a friend. She heard about ArtiGras and decided to give it a try.
“I enjoy the fact that Tallahassee appreciates the culture and music of New Orleans, something that I have been listening to and experienced at an early age,” she said.
For more information about ArtiGras visit http://funatthesquare.org/artigras-2015.html.