by MIKE CHAIKEN
Behind a mask, you can be anybody you want to be.
And at Mardi Gras, the anonymity is all the better.
According to MardiGrasNewOrleans.com, “In the beginning, masks worn during Mardi Gras allowed wearers to escape society and class constraints. When wearing a mask, carnival goers were free to be whomever they wanted to be, and mingle with whatever class they desired to mingle with.”
As for the festivities themselves, Smithsonianmag.com explained: “Mardi Gras made landfall in the United States back in the 17th century when the French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville set up camp 60 miles from New Orleans on the day that the holiday was being celebrated in France. He called the location Point du Mardi Gras. But, Mardi Gras and the accompanying masked balls associated with the holiday were outlawed when the Spanish governor took control of the area in 1766 as well as when it came under U.S. rule in 1803. But by 1823, the Creole population convinced the governor to permit masked balls. By 1827, wearing a mask in the street was legalized in New Orleans.”
Mardi Gras – complete with the traditional masks— takes to the colorful halls of carousel horses and artwork this weekend when the New England Carousel Museum hosts its annual Mardi Gras Party..
The fundraising event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25 from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. There will be music, food, bourbon, and beads. The Al Fenton Band will perform as guests dance the night away in the museum ballroom. There also will be a 50/50 raffle, face painters, temporary tattoos, balloon twisting, magic, bourbon, and wine tastings—activities all worthy of the Speakeasy.
And, of course, there will be masks for sale in the museum’s gift shop.
After all, when you’re in a mask, no one needs to know your name at Mardi Gras.
The New England Carousel Museum is at 95 Riverside Ave., Bristol. For more information, go to TheCarouselMuseum.org. Tickets are $50 and are available online.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN
Below, Brooke Cyr gets in a Mardi Gras mood at the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol. The masks she is wearing are available in the museum’s gift shop, just in time for this Saturday’s Mardi Gras Party.