Mardi Gras in The All-America City


AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) —- Downtown Aiken kicked off its version of Mardi Gras.

“We are bringing Bourbon Street to Downtown Aiken,” said ADDA Executive Director Haley Knight.

Carnival Season is in full swing in New Orleans. However, The City of Aiken is channeling the spirit of Mardi Gras by bringing the tradition to the CSRA.

“It makes me feel like I’m bringing something to Aiken, that people feel like it is something to invest their time,” explained Knight.

For three years now, Downtown Aiken turns “The Alley” into its version of Bourbon Street. It attracts hundreds of supporters.

“If you’re going to bring so many people out from the community, you might as well be raising money for other events, charities, and organizations while you’re at it,” said Natalie Carlisle.

Cajun food, beads, masks, and of course the parade are the main attractions. For some folks, it’s a reminder of The Big Easy.

“It reminds me of home,” described Nicholas Chipman. “To have a holiday that means a lot to me here, and to share it with people who aren’t familiar with it. Also, the celebration, the party, and the happiness is great!”

Chipman told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson he doesn’t get to go to his home state for the celebration. He says he is kicking off the festivities with loved ones nearby.

“There is a lot of conflict with politics in the world, but Mardi Gras is just a celebration of happiness, family, and just being together,” said Chipman.

Mardi Gars is an experience on some people’s to-do lists. Haley Knight hopes the ADDA’s role in hosting more diverse events will continue to help in Aiken’s growth.

“I hope people will take away from this, that Downtown is thriving,” explained Knight. “It’s a place to be, and it’s a place to come to whether there is an event going or not.”

Fat Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gars, is February 25th. New Orleans held the first Mardi Gras Parade in 1837.

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