Beads, Music, Art…Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is now in Tallahassee, but in art form.

The third-annual Artigras is a celebration of the Mardi Gras culture mixed with art and music. Many Tallahassee residents came out to celebrate the festivities on Saturday.

“I came out to celebrate,” said student Alex Zastra. “I love all of the galleries. It’s fun to walk around and it’s something to do on a Saturday.”

The event included a wide variety of music and food vendors like Vegan Soul Food and a restaurant at Railroad Square called Tasty Eats.

Along with the food, there was a Mardi Gras style parade. People on trucks and floats rode by throwing colorful beads and candy at viewers.

People watching the parade also noticed the very animated Railroad Square bear mascot that brought everything to life.

“I got to mess around and throw candy and beads and stuff. It was definitely the highlight of my weekend,” said 21 year old John Schmick, who was the man in the bear costume.

After the parade, many browsed different art galleries, ate food and listened to the soothing sounds of different local artists that took the stage.

People came in costumes and kids were able to create their own Mardi Gras masks at the event. Although the weather seemed threatening, more people came when headliner Cyril Neville and Tribe 13 prepared to take the stage.

“Just looking at what he and his brothers have contributed to music has definitely made an impact,” said Florida State African Drum and Dance Ensemble performer Chloe Clunis. “This is definitely a big highlight for this event today.”

Artigras is made possible by a grant from the City of Tallahassee’s Community Redevelopment Agency. All of the proceeds and donations went to the Tallahassee chapter of the American Red Cross.

“This is one of our yearly events that we choose a local charity. So it’s about the community,” said studio owner of Fire Ants Fine Arts studio Jonathan Markhan.

“We’re not out here just having fun, but we’re out here having fun that goes back.”

“Support local, shop local, and be local,” Markhan said.

And shop local they did. Local business co-owner of Bali Hi Trading Company Elaine Grace thinks this is the busiest Artigras has been.

“This is the first Artigras that I think we’ve really gotten some traffic. So, it’s great for my business, and how can you miss when you have Cyril Neville playing,” asked Grace.

Many shopped, ate and enjoyed their Saturday at Railroad Square. Although there wasn’t a huge turnout, Railroad Square’s events are not a secret. The park’s “First Friday,” and relatively new “Third Saturday,” give residents of Tallahassee plenty of fun to look forward to in the future.