A fine time was had by all last night at the RI Mardi Gras Ball (yeah, I know Mardi Gras was a few weeks ago, but it's RI and we do it our way)
The Mardi Gras Ball was like a really great night in the dance tent at Rhythm and Roots, only with a much more spacious and comfortable dance floor. The Hot Tamale Brass band kicked things off, playing for early arrivals, and also between sets, during the costume parade to make it extra festive. The Red Stick Ramblers were joined by Jesse Lege on accordion, then Steve Riley and the Mamou playboys took the stage. What made it seem more like the festival was the jam at the end of the set, when Tara Nevins of Donna the Buffalo joined them on rubboard, plus Kevin Wimmer of the Red Stick Ramblers also returned to the stage, with Brad Frank on drums, for an extended "Oh Mam" jam then a bluesy "All Night Long".
Then Tara and Kevin also played with Keith Frank. This is like the half way point between the last Rhythm and and Roots and the next one, so it is a good opportunity to reunite with many of our festival-loving friends, looking forward to another season of festive living.
Here is some video of the costume parade - lots of good ones, including some Roman soldiers, pirates, Marie Antoinette, and a jambalaya pot. The grand prize winners were a pair of colorful Mardi Gras Peacocks. I think one of the prizes this year was a tattoo or body piercing - glad I didn't go nuts putting together a costume for this one! My favorite was a gent dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, who can be seen dancing around. He didn't win, but I think he should have won something for most gutsy.