Last night, Twelfth Night was held in Soulard. Twelve nights after Christmas is the traditional beginning of Mardi Gras. I was told that in years past, this event was much smaller, more of a family and friends kind of thing. Despite the bigger crowd, it went off without a hitch and was a fantastic event. Everyone was so friendly and many echoed the same sentiment..."this is my favorite Mardis Gras event."
The evening began at Johnny's Restaurant and Bar where the Mardis Gras Board of Directors accepted petitions from anyone and everyone to begin the 2009 Mardis Gras Season. Now of course they're going to have Mardis Gras, this is all in good fun. Petitioning was quite interesting. It came in the form of poems, songs, skits, bribes (drinks and trinkets)...you name it!
Click here for my pictures from the evening:12th Night Slideshow
Afterwards, and with a large crowd outside gathered around the front steps, it was announced that the board had made its decision. A proclamation was read that there would indeed be Mardi Gras this year!
Then was the procession-despite the cold-my favorite part of the evening. A musical procession wound through the neigborhood, stopping at bars along the way where toasts were made. I found out that the bars where we stopped are ones that have given donations to Mardis Gras Inc so that Mardis Gras can be held. I guess it only makes sense considering the neighborhood bars make so much $$$ during the festival.
The procession ended at Soulard Market Park. First, the 2009 Rex (King) of Mardis Gras was announced, then Mayor Slay spoke. He lit the new historical light posts, a project funded by the Mardi Gras foundation. That was followed by fireworks over the park and the Mardi Gras Flag unfurled to signal the beginning of the season...Soulard's 30th by the way!