I couldn’t help but to feel a little bit sad this Mardi Gras. Reason being, it’s the first year (after two years prior) that I did not participate in the Ragin’ Cajun Mardi Gras race downtown (see photos above). What is the Ragin’ Cajun you may ask? It is the perfect event to start your celebrating off right. The race kicks off in the Warehouse District where you are given a map with several locations you must get to. You choose the route, and then take off looking to pick up souvenirs or drinks at each location. One stop might provide you with a snazzy jester hat, while another requires you to chug a Hurricane. Once you hit all of the stops, you head back to the Warehouse District for some Mardi Gras fun.
After two years of “running” the same race, I decided one should only have so many jester hats, so I declined to participate. As I was walking home from work yesterday, I noticed the throngs of runners starting to fill West 6th. I was immediately regretting my decision to not take one for the team and chug the worst Hurricane I’ve ever had. Everyone looked like they were having so much fun! And what isn’t fun about checking out various bars in Cleveland and then drinking a few at Dive Bar?
I noticed that Barley House was also in full swing, with yellow, green and purple balloons donning the doorway. Rumors of stilt walkers, palm readers and live music pulled people in. For a more “sophisticated” evening out, partygoers headed over to Take 5 Rhythm and Jazz bar, where live music wafted out onto Superior Avenue. In addition to live music, jello shots, legitimate Hurricanes and other drinks were served. If you’ve never been to Take 5, I would highly recommend it. It has a mellow, modern vibe that makes you want to sit down and stay for hours.
I’m not sure if it’s the fun and excitement of Mardi Gras that makes me want to go out on the town, or the fact that the city comes alive with events like these. With almost 12,000 residents living in downtown Cleveland and housing capacity at 95%, I’ve been surprised at how few people I see after work hours or during the day on weekends this winter. So to see people out on the streets for a random Tuesday celebration, makes me happy! I imagine that most people are still in hibernation from our chilly winter, but I hope that with the weather getting ready to make a turn for the better (I’m praying for that one), that more people get their butts outside and out and about the town!