Q&A with CarniVail royalty nominees Carling Delaney and Jason Cole | VailDaily.com

Q&A with CarniVail royalty nominees Carling Delaney and Jason Cole

New Orleans-style fun returns to the Vail Valley from Saturday, Feb. 6, through Tuesday, Feb. 9, with CarniVail, where locals and visitors can enjoy Mardi Gras merriment and all of the Cajun fixin's.

The full lineup of activities includes an on-mountain crawfish boil, Cajun apres and after-dark parties, a street festival, contests, prizes and much more, capped by the Fat Tuesday Parade and the crowning of the CarniVail king and queen. The Vail Daily Weekly sat down with each of the CarniVail royalty nominees to find out what they love about CarniVail and how it compares to the real deal in New Orleans.

Couple No. 1

Nominees Carling Delaney, originally of New Hampshire, and Jason Cole, originally of Kansas, both work for Slifer Smith & Frampton.

VAIL DAILY Weekly: How long have you lived in Vail?

CARLING DELANEY: I have been in Vail since the fall of 2009 — best decision of my life!

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VDW: What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Mardi Gras?

CD: Boobs … I mean, beads!

VDW: What's your favorite part of CarniVail?

CD: I love the live music that comes to town during CarniVail. MarchFourth Marching Band is killer, and I am excited to have them back in the valley. There's nothing better than skiing all day, taking apres deep and listening to some awesome live music right in our backyard.

VDW: If named royalty, will fame change you?

CD: Nah. But it would be some good bragging rights.

VDW: Have you ever been to the real New Orleans event? If so, what's the craziest thing you did?

CD: I've never been to New Orleans — I’ve always wanted to go though. I'm contemplating JazzFest for my bachelorette party this spring.

VDW: What's your favorite Cajun food or drink?

CD: Fried okra and shrimp and grits — then chase it down with a French 75.

VAIL DAILY Weekly: How long have you lived in Vail?

JASON COLE: I've lived in the Vail Valley for 10 years.

VDW: What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Mardi Gras?

JC: Hurricanes and beads.

VDW: What's your favorite part of CarniVail?

CD: The live music and parties in the village.

VDW: If named royalty, will fame change you?

CD: Nah, but it would be really nice to have the official title to throw around when my wife tells me it's my turn to put the kids to bed. I assume kings don't have to do those kinds of things.

VDW: Have you ever been to the real New Orleans event? If so, what's the craziest thing you did?

CD: I've never had the chance to enjoy the festivities in New Orleans, but I'm sure I've been a part of plenty of crazy things at Mardi Gras in other locations. My memory is just never very good the next day, so none come to mind.

VDW: What's your favorite Cajun food or drink?

CD: My buddy Cody O'Kelly makes the best gumbo. I'd go with that, along with a strong hurricane.

Couple No. 2

Nominees Roberto Morales and Molly Murphy both work at Vail Valley Medical Center.

VAIL DAILY Weekly: How long have you lived in Vail?

MOLLY MURPHY: Seven years and counting.

VDW: What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Mardi Gras?

MM: Fat Tuesday! Lots of Mardi Gras beads, colors and celebrations!

VDW: What's your favorite part of CarniVail?

MM: This year is my first year! I am anxious to find out what it is like!

VDW: If named royalty, will fame change you?

MM: No! Losing always makes you stronger!

VDW: Have you ever been to the real New Orleans event?

MM: No.

VDW: What's your favorite Cajun food or drink?

MM: Jambalaya.

VAIL DAILY Weekly: How long have you lived in Vail?

ROBERTO MORALES: Eleven years.

VDW: What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Mardi Gras?

RM: A crazy party with great food.

VDW: What's your favorite part of CarniVail?

RM: The Bud Light Street Party.

VDW: If named royalty, will fame change you?

RM: No, it will not have a dramatic impact on my life.

VDW: Have you ever been to the real New Orleans event?

RM: I have not been to New Orleans, but it is definitely on the list to check out.

VDW: What's your favorite Cajun food or drink?

RM: Jambalaya.

Couple No. 3

Nominees Townsend Bessent, Vail Daily photographer, who went to school in Louisiana, and Lauren Arnold, originally of Houston, are ready to spread Mardi Gras cheer.

VAIL DAILY Weekly: How long have you lived in Vail?

LAUREN ARNOLD: I grew up here. My parents moved here in '88 when I was 2.

VDW: What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Mardi Gras?

LA: Flashin' for beads … and New Orleans.

VDW: What's your favorite part of CarniVail?

LA: I have never been involved with this event, so I am excited to experience the festivities. I'm pretty pumped to wave to people from the royalty float and eat some crawfish!

VDW: If named royalty, will fame change you?

LA: Yes. If I won, I would probably have to quit my day job and travel around the world with my CarniVail queen sash spreading the Mardi Gras cheer for the rest of the year.

VDW: Have you ever been to the real New Orleans event? If so, what's the craziest thing you did?

LA: Never have been for Mardi Gras, but I have been to New Orleans for a bachelorette party. I thoroughly enjoyed the boozy slushies, amazing live jazz music, wandering around the French quarter, the famous beignets and observing a naked parade. NOLA doesn't disappoint.

VDW: What's your favorite Cajun food or drink?

LA: I love the boozy slushies and shrimp po' boy sandwiches, mmmmmm yummy!

VAIL DAILY Weekly: How long have you lived in Vail?

TOWNSEND BESSENT: Since 2008. I came out for holiday help during college but made the permanent move the morning after I graduated from Louisiana State University.

VDW: What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Mardi Gras?

TB: Amateur hour. And then a flood of fond memories.

VDW: What's your favorite part of CarniVail?

TB: I miss Mardi Gras just about every year now, so it's really fun to have a parade through Vail and revel in some of those colorful traditions.

VDW: If named royalty, will fame change you?

TB: Not unless my queen comes with a dowry.

VDW: Have you ever been to the real New Orleans event? If so, what's the craziest thing you did?

TB: Yes! Many, many times. Craziest thing? Better to keep that off the record — there's still a few things my parents don't know about.

VDW: What's your favorite Cajun food or drink?

TB: A cup of chicken and Andouille sausage gumbo with a fried oyster po'boy.

Couple No. 4

Nominees Travis Coggin, of the Vail Valley Young Professionals Association and Triumph Development, and Hayley Gough, of Vail Mountain and Dragonfly Gardening, are some of the longest-tenured Eagle County locals nominated for this year's Mardi Gras event.

VAIL DAILY Weekly: How long have you lived in Vail?

HAYLEY GOUGH: Fifteen years.

VDW: What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word "Mardi Gras"?

HG: Drinking hurricanes on Bourbon Street.

VDW: What's your favorite part of CarniVail?

HG: The colors and excitement.

VDW: If named royalty, will fame change you?

HG: Of course.

VDW: Have you ever been to the real New Orleans event? If so, what's the craziest thing you did?

HG: I have but don't think my events of the weekend should be publicized in the Daily.

VDW: What's your favorite Cajun food or drink?

HG: Crawfish with a cold beer.

VAIL DAILY Weekly: How long have you lived in Vail?

TRAVIS COGGIN: I initially moved in 1988, graduated from Vail Mountain School in 1998 and then was back for a few years as a ski patroller at Vail, but my most recent stint has been since October 2012.

VDW: What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word "Mardi Gras"?

TC: Beads and craziness.

VDW: What's your favorite part of CarniVail?

TC: The post-parade concert.

VDW: If named royalty, will fame change you?

TC: I would obviously get the red-carpet treatment service at Vendetta's and would be the first to receive my traditional post-skiing hot wings.

VDW: Have you ever been to the real New Orleans event? If so, what's the craziest thing you did?

TC: Nope.

VDW: What's your favorite Cajun food or drink?

TC: Jambalaya and a hurricane.

CarniVail Royalty Nominees

• Carling Delaney and Jason Cole

• Travis Coggin and Hayley Gough

• Townsend Bessent and Lauren Arnold

• Roberto Morales and Molly Murphy

To vote for your favorite couple, visit vaildaily.com/carnivail. Voting is open until noon Tuesday, Feb. 9.