NEVADA CITY – Gaily masked characters, pirates, Cajun cookin’ and midwinter fun come to the Sierra foothills Feb. 13-14 as Mardi Gras 2010 is celebrated with Old West style in historic Nevada City.
Nevada City’s main drag, Broad Street, becomes a West Coast Bourbon Street as merry spectators fill the downtown historic district for the annual Mardi Gras parade.
The Sunday afternoon Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) family parade moves down Broad Street beginning at 2 p.m. Colorfully masked and costumed characters and societies ride, march, dance and strut through an appreciative crowd, handing out beads, trinkets, bangles and more. Everyone is encouraged to wear their own festive Mardi Gras attire.
This year’s 18th annual celebration kicks off on Saturday night (Feb. 13) with the annual Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball in historic Miners Foundry at 325 Spring Street. The masquerade ball runs from 8 p.m. to midnight and features dancing to the live southern rock of the Holcomb Brothers Band. Traditional Cajun food will be available, including Cajun sausage sandwiches, chicken and sausage gumbo, Manuale prawns, southern style cole slaw, red beans and rice and bread pudding.
Masquerade ball tickets are only $10 in advance and (if available) $15 at the door. The event usually sells out so advance tickets are recommended. Contact the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce at 132 Main Street, call (530) 265-2692 or (800) 655-NJOY.
Activities surrounding Sunday’s free family parade include a Mardi Gras Street Faire from 11- 4 p.m. Food, drink, craft and clothing vendors will set up booths on North Pine and Commercial streets, with plenty of room for families with children and baby strollers.
Nevada City is known for its classic small town spirit and lively community events. With a population of just 3,000, Nevada City swells to thousands more for the annual Mardi Gras celebration.
Visitors should plan to arrive early to get a good vantage point along the parade route. Out-of-town visitors should book local accommodations early.
Nevada City is located on the scenic western slope of the Sierra, midway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. From Sacramento, take eastbound Interstate 80 to Auburn and Highway 49 north to Nevada City. From Marysville and the north valley, take eastbound State Route 20. From Reno, take westbound I-80 and westbound State Route 20.
Sponsors of the 2010 event include KNCO News Talk Radio & Star 94 FM, The Grass Valley Union, Waste Management, SPD Supermarkets, Nevada City Winery, Nor Cal Beverage, Distributor of Budweiser & Bud Light; Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, brewer of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale; The National Hotel, McGee’s Annex, The Boozefighters Motorcycle Club, Charter 6 of Grass Valley, Larry and Glady Birdsong, Northern Queen Inn, Best Western Gold Country Inn, Bonanza Oriental Gifts and Auburn Printers.