People wearing colorful beaded necklaces and masks filled the downtown bars Saturday night, enjoying the music of live bands, drink specials and an overall lively atmosphere.
The occasion was Moscow Mardi Gras, a charity event created to raise funds for youth organizations of Latah and Whitman County.
Genevieve Bendel, the president of Moscow Mardi Gras, said six downtown venues featured live bands that played music from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. as part of the event. People were able to purchase tickets to Moscow Mardi Gras for $15 until 6:30 Saturday night, or they could pay $20 at the door, she said.
Jakki Brumbaugh, a UI student who works at the Garden Lounge in downtown Moscow, said most people probably didn’t come out because it was a charity event.
“I think everyone mostly bought the tickets because of the live bands, specials and the holiday in general,” she said
Bendel said even though most people do not know Moscow Mardi Gras is a charity event, the event is a fun way to raise money.
Also, she said that Moscow Mardi Gras was a daylong event, starting with breakfast at 8 a.m. and included kid-friendly activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“It’s an event that brings the community together,” she said.
Though the evening part of the event has been successful for a number of years, Bendel said she is trying to make the event as grand as it used to be — creating a full day’s event, complete with a parade.
They didn’t receive enough entries this year to hold a parade Saturday morning, but Bendel says maybe it will happen next year.
The festivities Saturday night, however, didn’t lack in participation.
Brumbaugh said The Garden Lounge had more people then they typically do on a Saturday evening.
It was a super fun night to work, because everyone was having a great time dancing and listening to the live band,” she said. “The atmosphere was a lot more lively than it usually is.”
The Garden Lounge was not the only place to have a different atmosphere that night.
“There were tons of people everywhere we went,” said Nicky Hill, a student at UI who went to Moscow Mardi Gras.
She said she also liked how not all of the bars downtown were directly part of the main event.
It was good being able to go to bars like Champions and CJ’s without having to have the Mardi Gras ticket, Hill said. That way they could see other people who didn’t have tickets for the six venues that were playing live bands..
She said that even though she doesn’t remember a lot of the night, the whole evening was awesome.
Brumbaugh said Moscow should do more charity events like Moscow Mardi Gras, ones that have live bands and are centered around people going out and enjoying themselves.
“It’s great for the bands to make their names bigger, as well as the bars,” she said.
It is also a success for the non-profit organization that puts on the event.
This money will help to award grants to different youth organizations throughout Latah and Whitman counties, Bendel said.
Allison Griffith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org