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Art&Seek Jr: Let The Good Times Roll! Mardi Gras Events For Kids!
by Therese Powell 25 Feb 2014

Come have some Mardi Gras fun with these family friendly events.

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Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Hey guess what? Mardi Gras is just one week from today. Time to get out the purple beads, bake the King cake and let the good times roll with some fun Mardi Gras activities!

Like a lot of people, apart from the parties and parades, I knew very little about the origins of the holiday. So when my daughter asked why there was a plastic baby in the big, purple sweet roll (i.e. King Cake) the only response I could come up with was, “because it’s good luck.” F.Y.I. that’s also the go-to answer I give for why we blow out birthday candles, eat black-eyed peas, and have a black cat.

Curious to know more about Mardi Gras we  consulted our old friend Mr. Internets for answers and here’s what we found out. The name “Mardi Gras” is French for “Fat Tuesday,” which comes from the ancient custom of parading a fat ox through Paris on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.  The ox was to remind the people that they were not allowed to eat meat during Lent. This subtle reminder drove the people to load up on rich, fatty foods before the 40 days of fasting commenced, and thus the tradition of excessive eating, drinking and partying began.

There are many different accounts of how and when the Mardi Gras celebration came to this county. The account that I like best says that the first celebration happened in New Orleans in 1827 when a group of students who had recently returned from school in Paris put on strange costumes and danced their way through the streets in an effort to recreate the celebrations they had witnessed in Paris. Leave it to college kids to bring the biggest party of them all to the United States.

Put on your beads and laissez les bons temps rouler with one of these kid-appropriate Mardi Gras events.

Be the envy of the Mardi Gras Ball when you make your own mask. (photo: Oil and Cotton)

Be the envy of the Mardi Gras Ball when you make your own mask. (photo: Oil and Cotton)

You can’t celebrate Mardi Gras unless you look the part. Head over to Oil and Cotton Friday afternoon and make a real Mardi Gras mask complete with feathers and jewels. Express your creativity any way you like, but the nice folks at Oil and Cotton are there to guide you if you need help. You can drop in, or if you want to save a little cash, register in advance.

You and the tiny tikes  can  let the good times roll with a good old fashion street party in Denton Friday night. Local businesses, restaurants and individual will be sharing the historic 100 block of Walnut Street for this ultimate street party that features food, fun and a mini-wagon parade. If that’s not enough, there will also be jugglers from the local group Juggling & Flow Art will entertain the crowd, along with other “Second Line” entertainers. The family fun begins at 5.

Nothing says Mardi Gras like a parade and if it comes with costumed dogs, all the better! The Krewe of Barkus Parade features more than 200 costumed pooches and their human pals and promises to be a spectacle of canines and creativity. The theme for this year is, “Barkus Goes Back in Time…Choose a Decade and Get Decked Out In Style.” Now in its 12th year, the event will also have vendor booths and interactive activities. The fun all begins at 12:30 p.m. this Sunday at Mitchell Park in historic Downtown McKinney.

Head over to Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff Sunday at 4 p.m. for their authentic Mardi Gras Party. The event promises everything from crawfish to zydeco. There’s also a parade, so be prepared to catch some beads!

I’m glad we did our little Internet search and found out more about Mardi Gras because now we know the plastic baby inside the big purple sweet roll  is meant to represent baby Jesus and the person who gets the piece of cake with the trinket has various privileges and obligations. Meaning they have to buy the cake next time. Thanks Wikipedia!

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer. She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 8-year-old daughter, Rose. Tell us about your ideas for quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at [email protected].

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