Tips and Solutions Detail

Mardi Gras Celebration

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Breakfast

Fat Tuesday! Pancake Day! Mardi Gras! No Matter how you say it, it means “party” all over the world. So how will you celebrate? By flying out to New Orleans of course! Alright fine… that’s not always an option. If Mardi Gras isn’t coming to your hometown, try bringing it yourself by throwing your own Mardi Party. Use the party format below, or spice it up with a few ideas of your own!

Checklist

- Invitations
- Decorations: Yellow, purple, and green strings of beads for decorations and necklaces, yellow, purple, and green party streamers and butcher paper, multicolored holiday lights, Mardi Gras wall hangings (from a local store), clear packaging tape.
- Mask Making: Feathers (in a variety of colors), scraps of cardboard (about 1’x1’ each), felt (in a variety of colors), markers, paint.
- Float Making: More yellow, purple, and green party streamers and butcher paper, markers, 
- A Jester crown
- New Orleans music

Steps

Send out Invitations: Set the date for your party and create invitations. Besides the date, time, and place, tell your friends to come in costume or wear the colors purple, green and yellow. Also, ask them to bring their best or spiciest southern dish.
Decorate: For decorations, use bright purple, green, and yellow streamers, and of course strings beads all over the place! Get creative, you can hang them from furniture and walls; even from the ceiling! Use clear packaging tape to secure. Use the colorful butcher paper to drape over surfaces, and secure it with clear packaging tape. Many party supply stores carry Mardi Gras wall hangings and other decorations, check to see if there is anything you can use. Miniature Mardi Gras floats made from shoeboxes make great centerpieces for round and rectangular banquet tables. 
Food: For the buffet, try going southern style. You can provide shrimp cocktails or crawfish, a side (like vegetables or rolls), and a drink, as guests will bring other southern dishes to complete the buffet. Serve all the food on long banquet tables on one side of the room. You can cut out name cards for each dish, and invite guests to write their name and the name of the recipe as they arrive, to be placed in front of each dish. Place strings of bright beads around the dishes, along with crinkled butcher paper. You could also consider making a ‘King Cake’ or ‘King Cupcakes’ for dessert.
As the party begins: Start playing funky New Orleans music (like Jazz or Blues) before guests arrive, this will set the mood. As guests walk through the door, welcome them by placing Mardi Gras beads over their heads like a Lei, and invite them to set their food on the banquet tables.
- Allow people to socialize for about 30 minutes before opening the buffet, this will allow for everyone to taste each dish.
Mask Making or Float Making: Midway through the night, announce a ‘mask making’ or ‘Float making’ contest (whichever you choose).  Mask Making: Call for contestants (4-5 is usually enough), at two large banquet tables off to the side, give the contestants an equal amount of materials: feathers, cardboard, felt, markers, and paint (you can also add something funny like plastic wrap or tinfoil). Tell the participants they will have 5 minutes to make the best mask, then start the timer. Have 2 judges (determined before-hand or picked at random) decide the winners in several categories. Most creative, most fearsome, and most “Mardi-esque.” Give prizes to the winners, and be sure to take pictures! Give the Jester Hat to the winner of the most “Mardi-esque.” Float Making: Divide all the guests into groups of 4-5 (or form about 5 groups of 4-5). Give each of the contestants a 6’ table with crate paper, streamers, butcher paper, clear packaging tape, tinfoil, and toilet paper. Give each team about 7 minutes to create the ‘ultimate Mardi float’. Have 2 judges (determined before-hand or picked at random) decide the winners in several categories: Most Crazy, Completely Pointless, and most “Mardi-esque.” Give prizes to the winners, and be sure to take pictures! You can also award the Jester Hat to the winner of the most “Mardi-esque.”

Tips
- Even though the party is Mardi Gras themed, it does not require alcoholic beverages. A variety of sodas will work fine. If there is drinking at the party, be sure your guests have a safe way to get home.

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