Mardi Gras Strikes Burlington Hard, a Week Late

Burlington celebrates the festival of Mardi Gras a week late, after the Valentine’s Day storm caused the festival and partying to be postponed.

The parade showcased 26 floats from various groups in the Burlington area.

This year the Mardi Gras parade was sponsored by the Magic Hat Brewery and the Women’s Rape Crisis Center (WRCC). All of the proceeds from the floats go to the WRCC.

“It’s the Women’s Rape Crisis Center’s largest fundraiser,” said Kristine Bickford, the development director of the WRCC.

According to the parade’s Web site, in the past the Mardi Gras parade has attracted 20,000 spectators.

The parade route started at the corner of Main and Winooski and turned down onto Church Street then onto Cherry Street and ending at the Corner of Cherry Street and Pine Street.

Many in Burlington attended the parade, with various student groups such as freshmen through junior class councils providing crowd control.

Fraternities, such as Alpha Gamma Rho and Pi Kappa Alpha and sororities such as Alpha Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta also assisted in the crowd control along the parade route. The majority of University of Vermont’s Greek organizations did show up and provided crowd containment.

“It was a little cold, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it,” Rachel Jacobson, a member of the 2010 council, said

The crowd cheered through the entire parade, but some children reacted with hesitancy towards some of the floats.

“What is that float? Why are people flying around?” asked one young boy on Main Street, to his mother, as the Victor’s Angels float passed by.

“The parade was a little intense,” freshman Kate Coderre said.

The parade was initially going to take place on Feb. 17, but was postponed by the city of Burlington after the Valentine’s Day snow.

“While our first priority is to keep the community safe, we’re also working hard to bring the Mardi Gras event, a great Burlington tradition, to the city next weekend,” said Mayor Kiss in a press conference on Feb. 16.

This year’s parade featured floats from Burlington organizations such as; Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Twincraft Soap, Recycle North, Mag-ic Hat Brewery, Unicel and American Flatbread.

“I liked the parade, and thought it was hilarious. My favorite float was the Victor’s Angels float,” freshman Emily Duus said.

Before the parade began, musical groups were playing on Church Street to the accumulating crowds.

Outside Nectar’s Lounge, crowds gathered as employees threw out Nectar’s frisbees and plastic coins to the awaiting crowds below in the designated section for children.

Before the parade began, the Burlington Police came and broke up the crowd and told the Nectar’s employees to stop tossing free merchandise out of the windows.

Mardi Gras occurs next year on Feb. 5, 2008. It tradi-tionally takes place the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent in the Christian calendar.