New Orleans Transplant Brings Mardi Gras to Eureka Springs

Story by:Guest Contributor

First posted on 01-14-2009

(Eureka Springs, AR) – City Advertising and Promotions Commission (CAPC) Executive Director Jim Williams has announced that the city’s annual Mardi Gras celebration, Eureka Gras Mardi Gras Extravaganza , has been granted festival status for 2009. The festival takes place February 19-24.

Having festival status granted means that the event will receive significant advertising support from the CAPC. Williams cited two main reasons for the granting of festival status to the Eureka Gras festival. “It’s a wonderful reproduction of the traditional, New Orleans-style Mardi Gras celebration,” he explained. “As such, it draws folks here from around the state and the entire region.”

Former New Orleans resident and Hurricane Katrina transplant Dan Ellis decided to bring the Mardi Gras tradition to Eureka Springs shortly after relocating here. The festival is presented by the organizational group, the Krewe of Krazo . (“Krazo” is “Ozark” spelled backwards.)

The 4th Annual Eureka Gras, according to Ellis, will be the biggest and best attended. “We had a five year plan to build the local Mardi Gras celebration and it continues to proceed right on track,” he explained. “Each year we’re fleshing it out a little more. And we started getting calls about the ’09 event months ago.”

This year’s theme is Art Whirl and All That Jazz. The fun begins Feb. 19 with the Hookers and Jokers Ball at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks.

The following evening, the Royal Court Coronation Ball, with live music and a champagne buffet, takes place at the Crystal Dining Room in the 1886 Crescent Hotel.

The Krewe of Krazo Eureka Gras Parade departs from the Crescent Hotel Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. Colorful floats and festive walkers, throwing beads and candy to the crowd, will wind their way through historic downtown, loop the courthouse, and complete their route at the Art Colony on Main Street. The next morning a jazz brunch is set for the Crystal Dining Room.

Festival goers will gather at the Pied Piper Pub at 4 p.m. Feb. 24 for the Mardi Gras Second Line Krazo Krawl. The pub crawl will feature live music and an array of brunch items. “Crawlers” will visit six different taverns while wearing their full costumes, complete with masks and decorated umbrellas.

Eureka Gras also includes the Fat Tuesday Pancake Supper on Feb. 24, 5-9 p.m., at the Best Western Eureka Inn Gazebo Restaurant. The dinner is a benefit for Habitat for Humanity.

For more information on Eureka Gras visit http://www.Krazo.Ureeka.Org, email Dan Ellis or call 479-981-9551. And “laissez les bon temps rouler!” (Let the good times roll!)