Third annual Vail Mardi Gras returns Feb. 25-28 |

Third annual Vail Mardi Gras returns Feb. 25-28

Daily Staff Report

VAIL – Vail Mountain and the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau (VVCTB) have partnered to throw the country’s largest Mardi Gras celebration above 8,000 feet Feb. 25-28. The third annual Vail Mardi Gras event will include a masquerade bar crawl, the “World’s Highest, Low Country Crawfish Boil,” a Mardi Gras themed apres party, a “Taste of New Orleans” restaurant dine-around and a Fat Tuesday parade with the crowning of the Vail Mardi Gras king and queen. “The Vail Mardi Gras celebration certainly has additional meaning this year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans last fall,” said Meggen Bernstein of Vail Resorts. “We have invited a New Orleans family, displaced by the hurricane, to be our guests throughout the festivities, and proceeds from the Taste of New Orleans restaurant event will be donated to them.” The Ruli family’s New Orleans home had flood water up to the gutters for over two weeks following Hurricane Katrina. Some of the only items the family salvaged from their flooded house were Mardi Gras beads that were stored in the attic. The Ruli family will be hosted by Vail Resorts throughout the Vail Mardi Gras festivities, and they will be throwing out their salvaged beads during the Fat Tuesday parade as honorary parade marshals. A fund has been set up at Alpine Bank for the Ruli family and all donations made through March 1 will be given to the family. Vail Mardi Gras events begin on Feb. 25 with a masquerade bar crawl in Vail Village. On Feb. 26, the festivities continue with the “World’s Highest, Low Country Crawfish Boil” at Eagle’s Nest on Vail Mountain. Local band Laughing Bones will perform and authentic crawfish and gumbo will be served. Following the crawfish boil, a Mardi Gras apres party will be hosted at participating bars in Lionshead. Events continue Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 with the inaugural “Taste of New Orleans” restaurant dine-around event. Participating Vail Village and Lionshead restaurants will offer special New Orleans inspired menu items. A portion of the proceeds from participating restaurants throughout the two-day event will be donated to the Ruli family.This year’s events will culminate with the Fat Tuesday parade Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. The parade will travel from the International Bridge to Seibert Circle in Vail Village. Festivities following the Fat Tuesday parade will include the Vail king and queen of Mardi Gras crowning, a king cake eating contest, parade float award winner announcements and additional family-friendly entertainment. Families, businesses and youth are encouraged to put together mini-floats using red wagons or big wheel bicycles. Pets will also be welcomed in the parade this year. Float entry forms are now available through the VVCTB by calling 477-4024. Prizes will be awarded to the best youth and best merchant floats.

People can vote for the king and queen of Vail Mardi Gras contest. Voting will take place through the Vail Daily’s online poll (, starting Monday. Nominees for this year’s king and queen are: Resort Information and Activities Center employee Barb Harris and Yellow Jacket Bobby Cox from Vail Mountain, Officer Mark Zaloudek and Records Technician Ashley Bell from the town of Vail, Matt Carroll from Double Diamond Ski Shop and Lynette Miscio from the Flying Burrito and Mark Bricklin and Cassie Pence from the Vail Daily. For more information on 2006 Vail Mardi Gras, call 476-9090 or visit Vail Mardi Gras scheduleFeb. 25 8 p.m. – Masquerade bar crawl on Bridge “Bourbon” Street in Vail VillageFeb. 26

noon-2:30 p.m. – “World’s Highest, Low Country Crawfish Boil” with music by Laughing Bones at Eagle’s Nest on Vail Mountain3-6 p.m. – Mardi Gras Apres inLionshead Feb. 27″Taste of New Orleans” dine-around at Vail Village and Lionshead restaurants Feb. 28

5:30 p.m. – Fat Tuesday parade and festivities, starting at the International Bridge to Seibert Circle in Vail VillageVail, Colorado

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