By Randy Arrington
LURAY — A new event is coming to town just prior to “Fat Tuesday.”
For those who can’t make the trek to Bourbon Street (or for those who prefer a more modest approach to collecting beads), the Luray Downtown Initiative hopes residents will come together downtown to shop and dine in New Orleans fashion later this month.
The LDI board of directors wanted something to fill the winter void.
“The idea was ‘What else can we do this time of year?’,” LDI director Meredith Dees said. “It’s a time when tourism is down, and we wanted to give locals something to do and bring them downtown.”
Dees noted that this is the first downtown event sponsored by the organization that does not center around a shopping holiday. LDI also sponsors efforts to promote Small Business Saturday and Shop Late programs around the holiday shopping season.
For the Mardi Gras Celebration, four stations will be set up around town to create Mardi Gras masks with various artisans on hand to help bring each visitor’s creativity alive. The mask may be created all at one place, or add a little something from each stop. The four stops include:
- Art and Artisans Gallery with Cathie Miranda “the Pottery Lady”;
- Hawksbill Trading Company;
- Shenandoah Moon;
- The Warehouse Art Gallery
Several restaurants and downtown eateries will be offering special New Orlean-style cuisine, including a drawing for a King Cake (a Mardi Gras staple) from Baby Moons. Visitors may enter the drawing multiple times by submitting an entry at each location they visit.
Other special dining options include:
- Beignets and coffee at Gathering Grounds;
- Themed lunch specials for $10 or less at Main Street Bakery and Catering;
- Crab and crawfish Cardinale dinner special for $20 at Moonshadows on Main.
Many downtown shops will be extending their hours for the event, as well as handing out lots of beads. But organizers are quick to note that there will be “no prerequisites” for obtaining beads.
LDI’s Mardi Gras Celebration will take place from 12-4 pm. Saturday, Feb. 22.
For more information, visit the LDI website at www.downtownluray.com