Mardi Gras celebrations scattered through valley |

Mardi Gras celebrations scattered through valley

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Snowmass Sun fileSpectators, loaded in beads, watch last year's Mardi Gras parade in Snowmass Village.

SNOWMASS VILLAGE – It’s nothing like the New Orleans celebration – good luck finding a king cake or somebody who will bare their chests for a strand of cheap plastic beads – but there are a few ways to celebrate Fat Tuesday today in the Roaring Fork Valley if you’ve got the time and the inclination to make merry.

The Snowmass Village Mardi Gras Parade and Celebration kicks off at 7 a.m. Tuesday with a race that starts at the base of Fanny Hill near Base Village Plaza. Dubbed the Mother of All Ascensions, the 20th annual event is an uphill race, with many participants in costumes, that climbs more than 2,000 vertical feet and ends at Gwyn’s High Alpine Restaurant. Prizes are awarded to those with the best costumes and to racers, who can participate in snowshoes, hiking boots, running shoes or track skis.

Later in the day in the family-friendly confines of Snowmass, several free events are planned, including clowns and face-painting for the kids from 2 to 4 p.m.; a “massive bead throw” at 3 p.m. in which nearly 30,000 strands will be tossed to the crowds; and a Mardi Gras parade, starting at 4 p.m., complete with floats, a king and a queen. Cash prizes will be awarded for best float, best costume and best use of theme. The parade is said to be the largest of its kind in the Rocky Mountains.

All of the afternoon events will take place on the Snowmass Village Mall. Following the parade, various venues will hold happy-hour celebrations that combine Mardi Gras with regular apres-ski specials. Visit the websites and for more information.

Farther downvalley in Basalt, the Riverside Grill is planning its own Mardi Gras party starting at 8 p.m. Live music by Vid Weatherwax and various specials and giveaways are planned. Call 970-927-9301 for details.

Going even farther down Highway 82, what’s billed as “Fat Tuesday Trivia Night” is planned at Carbondale Beer Works from 7 to 10 p.m. The event is described simply as “Mardi Gras fun.” Call 970-704-1216 to get the full picture.

Even some places in Aspen are expected to join in the festivities. The Hotel Jerome is planning food and drink specials from 3 p.m. to closing, including hurricane cocktails, New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp and seafood gumbo. Call 970-920-1000 for more information.

Of course, one need not leave the house to celebrate Mardi Gras. As in New Orleans and much of southern Louisiana, house parties are common. Cook up some chicken and sausage gumbo, invite a few friends, turn up the standard Carnival tunes, and serve a variety of libations.

Fat Tuesday – another great excuse for a party, even without the king-cake baby or scantily clad revelers.


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