EDITORIAL | Mardi Gras: Good times will roll this weekend in Twin Cities

(Gazette file photo)
(Gazette file photo)

Mardi Gras is here ... in Texarkana at least.

Fat Tuesday itself is still a few days away. Traditionally the last day of fun before the somber season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday.

Mardi Gras celebrations are rooted in the Catholic faith. Lent -- which commemorates the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fending off temptation in the wilderness -- means sacrifice, fasting and penitence.

That's all well and good. But people being people, 40 days is a long time without the sins of the flesh. So many decided the night before Ash Wednesday was the ideal time to indulge in lavish meals and heavy drinking forbidden during Lent.

Over the years, dancing and other forms of revelry were added to the food and drink. Costumes, parades, and the like followed.

Worldwide the capital of Mardi Gras is Rio de Janiero. The Brazilian city is known for it's lavish celebration, called Carnival, which dates back to the 1700s and attracts 2 million people per day.

In the U.S., though, Mardi Gras is traditionally associated with New Orleans. The famed and mysterious Krewes hold balls and parades and fun-seekers from all over converge on the French Quarter and Garden District. Many other cities, including Mobile, Ala., Galveston, Texas, and Savannah, Ga., also hold elaborate festivities.

And that includes Texarkana.

Today will see our own Mardi Gras celebration downtown beginning at 10 a.m. at the Front Street Festival Plaza. There will be all sorts of fun activities and more than 40 food vendors to make the day even better. A number of performers offering a variety of live music will keep everyone entertained.

The annual Mardi Gras parade starts at 6 p.m. with around 30 floats entered so far plus bands, classic cars and more.

Mardi Gras is all about fun. But remember, if you celebrate with adult beverages, don't get behind the wheel. Strong waters dull the senses and can lead you into believing you are safe to drive. You aren't.

So think about it. Think hard.

Let the good times roll. But don't let the good times roll all over you.

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