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West Jordan Journal

Mardi Gras Gala returned to connect community

Mar 04, 2024 12:32PM ● By Linda Steele

Flamingo Band (Linda Steele/City Journals)

The County Library had a Mardi Gras party in 2020 just before everything shut down, and it was a big hit. The library decided to bring it back this year, and it was a sold out success. 

The Mardi Gras Gala was a great free Adult Night Out at the Viridian Event Center on March 10. There were colorful costumes, gumbo, chicken and waffles, beignets, mock cocktails and parades. Attendees danced to traditional New Orleans jazz played by Flamingo, a local band. Costumes were bright and glittering with an array of stunning masks. “The Gala experience connects the community and creates opportunity to learn about cultural traditions in a fun and memorable way,” Rosa Bandeirinha said, public relations coordinator. 

Events like the Mardi Gras Gala are a great way for the community to connect and have a great night out with loved ones and meet new friends. “Salt Lake County loved our Mardi Gras Event in 2020. Due to the overwhelming response, we were thrilled to offer it again this year for free with activities, entertainment, opportunities to dance and to create joyful memories,” Taylor Allen said, Viridian assistant manager. 

The whole goal and mission of the gala is to bring the community together at the library. The library wanted to bring the community together to create a gala type of event that is free and open to the public for those who don’t have access to go to expensive events. “It is a chance to dress up and go to an event and come together as a community and experience a different cultural event that we don’t have in Utah,” said Cali Holcombe Event Coordinator. 

In France they celebrate Shrove Tuesday. This is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, It marks the close of the pre-Lenten season. The French name Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday from the custom of using all the fats in the home before Lent. This is in preparation for fasting and abstinence.

In the United States there is a carnival celebration in New Orleans. The carnival opens up on Twelfth Night which is also called Epiphany. This is celebrated on Jan. 6. Then it goes into Mardi Gras celebration with all the festivities just 10 days before Shrove Tuesday. The celebration has parades, revelry going on day and night. Then everything builds up to the Rex parade. The Rex parade has spanned generations. Rex is a Carnival Krewe which has one of the city’s most celebrated parades on Mardi Gras Day. Rex is Latin for King and Rex reigns as “The King of the Carnival.”

The Mardi Gras Gala is a unique Adult Night Out celebration that Salt Lake County Library puts on. This festivity is for fun, and people in Utah can learn more about Mardi Gras and why it is celebrated. It brings the community together and adults can attend for free.  λ