Mix a little “home cookin’” with a dash of outsider and you have Mardi Gras for kids… or at least that’s what the East Texas city of Marshall ended up with when Mary Lynn Vassar and Jacinda Woloson met and combined their energy.
Woloson says she simply jumped on board to help the idea of a celebration in Marshall that was already in the works when she and her family moved there a few months earlier. After all, she was from New Orleans and she just knew that Vassar understood she knew what it would take to make a parade happen.
“I was,” Woloson says, “very surprised to learn that not everyone celebrates Mardi Gras here! Where I come from it is a way of life.”
With the help of Deon Behrman from the local chamber of commerce and Father Denzel Vithange of St.Joseph Catholic Church Mardi Gras came to Marshall and for those who pieced it together like a jig saw puzzle in motion, Woloson says “The smiles on the children’s faces” were what motivated them.
“Boy what a payoff. They were really happy getting to dress up their little trikes, bikes and battery operated vehicles to parade.”
It was a first, and modest in size, with approximately 300 taking part.
There were little babies in the arms of their parents, to teenagers and the youngsters had opportunities to decorate their masks and of course there were beads to be thrown and caught.
Modern technology met old time celebration when one young lady sat off to the side, her arms draped in beads, calmly waiting for the parade to begin while texting.
As the event unfolded and the jazz and blues music was playing it was hard to tell who enjoyed themselves the most, the kids or the adults.
Put down 2011 as the year the Mardi Gras parade for kids began. If Woloson and her co-horts have their way, it is only the first in a series of such family celebrations.
They are the founders of the first-ever Krew of Ginocchio Children’s Parade.