In a place that embraces any excuse to party, day or night, it has always seemed bizarre to me how much of a dud Mardi Gras is in Aspen.
Of course, perhaps that’s why Snowmass’ celebration is so well-attended, and in that way the apathy turns into an opportunity for Snowmass to really shine. The Mall was hopping on Fat Tuesday, and it was so energizing to both the psyche and, I’m hoping, the vitality of our local businesses.
But when I went out in Aspen with some friends to try to keep the party going, we were greeted by a ghost town. Downtown was eerily quiet, and it kind of bummed me out after two years of a great celebration hosted by an old friend and his band.
Maybe it’s because I went to Catholic school growing up, and we always got out of class to do a cheesy parade around the gym the day before we got ashes on our forehead. Maybe it’s because I’m from the South. Maybe it’s because, like my mother, I love holidays and think people who ignore them are out of touch.
But I just don’t understand it.
I suspect that what I witnessed in Aspen wasn’t a fluke but was the result of a combination of factors, one of those being the dearth of international visitors we’re experiencing this year. Judging by the crowds on the Snowmass Village Mall that were still at it late into the evening, I also think the people looking to celebrate simply knew where the party was at. (Maybe the Snowmass Sun helped with that? Gee, that’d be a nice thought.)
At any rate, hats off to Snowmass Tourism and the patient bartenders and business owners of the village for pulling off another successful Mardi Gras celebration. The only criticism I can offer is this: Why don’t more local businesses build floats for the parade?
Murry Daniels, a part-time resident of Carbondale and Louisiana, told me that in New Orleans, organizations and businesses have mini- parades daily in the lead-up to Mardi Gras. He said he recognizes that wouldn’t make sense in Snowmass Village, but in that same spirit, local businesses could have parties the night before and should all participate in Snowmass’ parade.
Murry is right. Snowmass’ Mardi Gras is a good party, but it could be a great one with full buy-in from the community. The expenses and labor associated with a float are well worth the free advertising for any business with a couple staff members to spare on a Tuesday. And the gesture of community support is priceless.
Of course, I’m not claiming innocence in this. I couldn’t even get out of the office in time to help judge the parade floats this year. Our press deadlines are in the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday every week, but the editor of the Snowmass Sun should figure out a way to be at events like this.
So really what I’m suggesting is that we all decide right now to take our role in events like this a little more seriously. We can’t take for granted that the parade will continue to happen if we don’t all participate. It’s not that hard to build a float, and really, it will be a lot of fun, so why not?
Jill Beathard is already brainstorming ideas for a Snowmass Sun float for next year. Email yours to email@example.com.
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The Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has received a $5,000 grant from the Rocky Mountain Health Foundation that will help the Old Snowmass camp offer a winter retreat for adults who are deaf or hard of hearing.