By: Holly Hollman
The annual Athens Mardi Gras Block Party was Tuesday, Feb. 13, in Downtown Athens. The Athens State Artheads had their costumes ready for this year’s theme, "Things That Fly."
Festivities started at 5:30 p.m. at High Cotton Arts with a free mask-making craft session for kids, as well as a popcorn bar. There were also bead making and International Crane Foundation booths at the Athens State Center for Lifelong Learning.
The parade was at 6:30 p.m., with the Athens High Dixieland Band performing at the Center for Lifelong Learning and the East Limestone Band Ensemble at High Cotton Arts. This was advertised as a Parade With A Purpose, as groups decorated shopping carts on loan from Lowe's that they pushed in the parade in order to collect canned food from spectators. All food was then given to the LCCI Food Bank in Athens. A total of 300 cans of food was collected and donated. Decorators included the Athens-Limestone Animal Shelter, who featured a cart that was flying animals to the rescue, and the Athens Arts League which had a cart called, "When Pigs Fly" as a tribute to Julia the Pig. Julia, you’ll remember, was the pig that was nearly ousted from the city limits in the 1980s, but who went on to become the Sun-Drop drinking queen of the Christmas parade. Her portrait also had a place of honor on the walls of LuVici’s.
The Limestone County Courthouse had Mardi Gras colors showing on the Courthouse walls and festive music as well, using the new speaker system which can be heard all around the Square.
This event was hosted by the Athens State University sculpture students known as the Artheads with assistance from Athens Arts League, and it turned out wonderfully.
By: Holly Hollman