‘Bon Temps’ for All Ages at the Shoreline Village Mardi Gras

By: 
Collin James
CHILDREN DANCING to live folk music from the Pappion Louisiana Band.

Gold, green and purple lined every shop, lamppost and alleyway as the Shoreline Village was transformed into the French Quarter of New Orleans in time for the Ninth Annual Mardi Gras Parade. Long Beach citizens gathered there on Saturday for an early Mardi Gras festival complete with all the decadence minus the debauchery.

The Shoreline Village was determined to make this an event for all ages. The Shoreline Village stated their goal in a press release was to create “a family-friendly alternative to the more traditionally risqué and adult-oriented annual tradition.”

Young and old took part in the festivities and the Shoreline Village offered something for everyone, from live music, souvenir stands, performers and elaborate New Orleans themed costumes. Some of the more festive Long Beach denizens were dressed as French nobility, classic pirates, zoot suits and masquerades, but most attendees, costumed or not, wore several bead necklaces.

Wesley Boyle and Horsey Horseshoe tossed many of these necklaces for children to catch from the second-story balcony of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

“They gave us a couple boxes of beads and told us to have fun,” Boyle said. “We saw a little girl crying [by the docks]. So we went over and gave her a whole stack of beads and instantly she started smiling again.”

The Shoreline Village chose Boyle and Horsey Horseshoe to pass out the beads because of their involvement in promoting Long Beach events on their Instagram accounts.

The festival was preceded by a parade with dancers (dressed in a Brazilian carnival fashion), marching bands and a royal float for the king and queen. Parade marchers and watchers tossed gold, purple and green beads back and forth as the parade made its way from the Aquarium of the Pacific before ending at the Shoreline Village, where the good times continued to roll.

Live music was on every corner of the village. The Poppion Louisiana Band played bluegrass and folk music in front of the honorary king and queen: local journalist Brian Addison and City Councilperson Jeanine Pearce.

Pearce is the newest member of the city council and represents the Second District. The king and queen posed for photos with the public.

“I am deeply honored to hold the title of 2017 Mardi Gras Queen,” Pearce said in an email. “To me, there are few things in life more uplifting than coming together as a community.”

The festivities were not completely tame however. Shenanigans, an Irish pub with a full bar, was at capacity, serving beers and cocktails and hosting rockabilly revival band The Rayford Brothers. With Link on guitar, Otis on drums and Miles Shad wielding an upright bass, the three brothers rocked Elvis covers and rolled surf rock classics like “Woolly Bully” to patrons in a smoke-filled patio.

The local shops also sold New Orleans-themed foods and drinks. Hungry festival goers could find beignets, a French puff pastry, at the various food stands. The smell of jambalaya, gumbo and boiled crawfish wafted from Louisiana Charlie’s, adding a bit more authenticity to the festival. Many of the restaurants on the shoreline Village continued to offer Mardi gras themed eats and drinks until Tuesday.

collin@beachcomber.news

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