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Lawrence goes all out for Fat Tuesday during Mardi Gras parade downtown

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Locals donning beads and masks flooded Massachusetts Street for the annual Mardi Gras parade Tuesday. 

The parade, led by Mike and Katie’s Brass Mob band, began at noon in front of Lucia, 1016 Massachusetts St., before snaking north to Free State Brewery. There were several pit stops along the way: people enjoying a meal at Terrebonne Po’ Boys or reading at the library were in for quite a surprise when the band burst through the doors. 

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According to the Lawrence Mardi Gras website, the parade tradition began in 2008 when two musicians named Mike and Katie moved to Lawrence from New Orleans. 

“They discovered we didn’t have a Mardi Gras and so they built one for us. Now it’s our responsibility to carry the Krewe De Kaw flag and play these tunes to celebrate this Fat Tuesday,” the website says. 

Fat Tuesday signifies the last day of the six-week-long party that is Carnival season. The Christian tradition of Lent begins the next day, so Fat Tuesday (also known as Pancake, Shrove or Carnival Tuesday, depending on location) is a day of indulgence, celebration and chaos. 

Lawrence fully embraced the spirit of Carnival and Fat Tuesday. When the band stopped marching to play on street corners, people blocks away could hear the paraders join in on the songs. The glitter-clad procession crowded the sidewalk and stretched down the street. 

Courtney Farr, a 45-year-old Lawrence local carrying the Krewe De Kaw flag, said there’s only one good way to describe the parade. 

“It’s just magical,” he said.

Chloe Anderson/Lawrence Times

Dylan Bassett, a lecturer in percussion at the University of Kansas, led the band and parade.

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Post last updated to add video at 5:04 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21

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Chloe Anderson (she/her) contributed to The Lawrence Times from August 2022 through May 2023. She is also published in Climbing magazine, Kansas Reflector and Sharp End Publishing. As a recent graduate of the University of Kansas, Chloe plans to continue her career in photography, rock climbing and writing somewhere out West.

You can view her portfolio, articles and commissioned work here. Check out more of her work for the Times here.

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