Celebrate A Snowy Mardi Gras In Crested Butte

Parade, concert and art costume party celebrate the area’s free spirit

While traditional Mardi Gras celebratory bashes will be plentiful, Gunnison and Crested Butte, Colo., are celebrating this traditional French holiday in their own special way again this year. Skiers, snowboarders and carnival lovers alike are invited to join the Mardi Gras fun on Feb. 21 and 24 as the towns prepare to send off Fat Tuesday with a bang.

BeauxArts Mardi Gras Party, Gunnison Arts Center As a unique twist on the costumed Mardi Gras ball, the Gunnison Arts Center (GAC) is encouraging attendees of its BeauxArts Mardi Gras Party to wear costumes fashioned to represent an art piece or an artist. Gather accoutrements to outrag-ify, flamboy-ify or understate your art costume as you see fit for this Feb. 21 bash that begins at 7 p.m. A king and queen will be announced based on costume, and music and Louisiana-style foods will be part of the fun. The price is $10 for GAC members and $15 for non-members. For information, call (970) 641-4029.

Mardi Gras Parade & Concert, Elk Avenue & Mallardi Cabaret, Crested Butte Highlights of the festivities in Crested Butte are a parade, concert and of course, bead sales. Mardi Gras is a fund-raiser for Crested Butte Mountain Theatre (CBMT), a community theatre group established in 1972. Beads will be sold at the CBMT office, located at Elk Avenue and Second Street, and retail stores in Crested Butte.

During the parade, catch flying beads and trinkets and revel at the krewes during the colorful Mardi Gras parade that fills Elk Avenue in historic downtown Crested Butte starting at 5 p.m., after the ski slopes close. Past parades have included a 100-foot long dragon, dancers, skiers (including the mayor jumping over fire), and more with gently falling snows often providing a magical backdrop.

Immediately following the parade, the party continues with a concert by Steve Schneider and Jim Sandy at CBMT’s Mallardi Cabaret, located right where the parade concludes at Elk Avenue and Second Street. Sip a hurricane and enjoy a bowl of gumbo or jambalaya and a slice of king cake while listening to great music. The suggested donation for the concert is $10 per person, with food and drink extra. To register an entry for the parade and for additional information, call Crested Butte Mountain Theatre at (970) 349-0366.

“Mardi Gras is a great time to celebrate Crested Butte style. Enjoy a wide array of snow sports and off-mountain activities in the area during the day before joining locals for let-your-hair-down fun in the evening,” says Jane Chaney, director of the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association.

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