Put on your mask, grab your beads, the Mardi Gras is coming to town!
The inaugural Easton-Phillipsburg Mardi Gras Parade will take place Saturday, March 2, 2019, from 2 to 4 p.m., followed by more fun on Phillipsburg’s South Main Street including a culinary event, “A Taste of South Main.”
Led by the Big Easy Easton Brass, a New Orleans-style street band that just celebrated its first anniversary, the parade starts in Pennsylvania and ends in New Jersey. Participants step off from Easton’s Centre Square at The Bayou Southern Kitchen & Bar. The parade proceeds east on Northampton Street to cross the “Free Bridge” over the Delaware River into Phillipsburg’s Union Square, then turns right for a short walk to SoMa Downtown Grill at 62 S. Main St.
“This is one city with a river running through it,” said Jeremy Joseph, who leads the Big Easy Easton Brass. An Easton native who lives in Harmony Township, Warren County, Joseph said the band, which draws members from both sides of the river, “hopes to bring the community together to celebrate music, love, laughs and life.”
Weather permitting, a truck-mounted “professional bubble blower” from Into the Sunset Entertainment will lead the parade dispersing thousands of bubbles over the crowd, Joseph said. The band will come next, followed by the “Second Line” – anyone who wants to join in the parade. Participants are free to form a “Krewe”, any collection of people who want to get in costume and strut their stuff.
“The band's goal is to blur the line between spectator and participant. Blow bubbles, shake a tambourine, sing along or just literally dance in the streets with us, we want you to be immersed in the New Orleans tradition now brought to our area,” Joseph remarked.
After the parade, the fun will continue in the parking lot across from SoMa and in area restaurants, with more music, craft vendors, participatory craft-making, a “Silent Disco”, and the Taste of South Main event. There will even be slices of King Cake, the traditional Mardi Gras dessert, for sale.
There also is a costume contest: take a selfie of your costume or Krewe and post it on the Facebook event page found here, and the most “likes” will determine the winner.
Phillipsburg Area Arts Community held several “open studio” events to make masks, sculpture hats and noisemakers to use during the parade, and the group will host a craft project for families led by local artist Stephen Fitzgerald at Taste Buds on Main, 95 South Main St., after the parade.
“Mardi Gras is the best of all holidays combined,” said Sue Ann Williams, a PAAC Volunteer. “It’s a huge party with a parade and costumes and goofy crafts and wild dancing and tons of fun. And, I don’t even know why I’m having fun. I like that about Mardi Gras!” she remarked.
Participating restaurants in the Taste of South Main are:
- The Kitchen, 4 Union Square
- Jimmy’s Doggie Stand, 7 Union Square
- SoMa Downtown Grill & Café, 62 South Main St.
- Taste Buds on Main, 95 South Main St.
- Greek Meat Guy, 150 South Main St.
- Joe’s Steak Shop, 274 South Main St.
- Eureka Plant Based Foods, 396 South Main St.
Save room for dessert! Kumi's Cakes and Pastries LLC at 502 South Main and Sweet Girlz, a bakery from Easton, will be selling King Cake, eclairs, cream puffs and more from the SoMa Café located next to the restaurant.
Other local establishments are participating, with The Sand Bar,4 Union Square, hosting a DJ party with drink specials and Free Bridge Liquors, 9 Union Square, also having specials on select craft brews.
Spearheading the event, in addition to the Big Easy Easton Brass, are SoMa Downtown Grill; The Bayou; the Phillipsburg Area Chamber of Commerce; the Easton Area Chamber of Commerce; Into the Sunset Entertainment, a mobile DJ service from Stewartsville, NJ; and Silent Fun, the silent disco company from Easton, PA.
(Photo of Big Easy Easton Brass: Lasting Image Photography by Ryan Fisher @lipbyryanfisher)