Bowling Green’s first Mardi Gras festival took place on Saturday, March 4, where the purple and green beads that signify the Louisianan holiday were seen throughout Circus Square Park. The event consisted of a puppy parade, children’s parade, art and food vendors and an after-party hosted at a venue called La Gala.
The event was organized by the Bowling Green chapter of the Kiwanis Club. The club was founded in 1923 and has more than a hundred active members.
The Kiwanis Club is an active part of the community, raising money to give to children’s organizations for promoting the well-being of children and the community, according to Jacqueline Peterson.
Peterson is a member of the Kiwanis Club, which is a local chapter of an international organization, she said. She was the leader of the Barkus Puppy Parade at the festival.
The idea for Bowling Green to have a Mardi Gras festival was suggested by members of the Kiwanis Club who are from Louisiana. They thought it would be a good way to bring the community together, Peterson said.
The event had a variety of food and art vendors. Most were local groups from Bowling Green and the surrounding areas, including the Dainty and Dapper Pet Boutique, which is owned by Kristy Amann.
Amann is from Jamestown but has lived in Bowling Green for the past 23 years. She said she was excited to be at the event, especially for the puppy parade.
“I wanted to see all the animals out and about today,” said Amann.
There were numerous activities for attendees of all ages at the festival. Bouncy castles were all over the Circus Square Park lawn, designated the “Kiddie Krewe Kids Zone.” There were also horse and carriage rides around downtown and a vendor for balloon animals.
At the event was another entertainer, Peewee, a stilt walker who juggles. Peewee, originally from Tennessee, came to Bowling Green specifically for the Mardi Gras parade.
Peewee said he walked in the Children’s Parade, even though some would say he’s technically not a kid.
“I just come out to these things and I like to do my juggling and have fun and mess around with people, and so far, it’s been so good,” Peewee said.
When asked about his stilts however, he said, “What stilts? I’m just a tall guy!”
Tristan Jenkins, a mom from Bowling Green that was out for the day with her children. She said she was looking forward to the event because it was an exciting event for children in town.
She said her kids walked in the Kiddie Krewe Parade, jumped around in the Kids Zone and enjoyed having their faces painted.“I think it’s been great, I love all the festivities. I’m hoping Bowling Green has more events like this in the future,” Jenkins said.