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12th Annual Asheville Mardi Gras Parade, March 3

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12th Annual Asheville Mardi Gras Parade To Be Led By All-Female Royalty

On March 3 2019, the magical and musical Asheville Mardi Gras Parade will saunter through the streets of South Slope. Unlike last year – or the decade before in which the parade was held downtown – the procession will feature two women as the official King and Queen of Mardi Gras.

At Asheville Mardi Gras' 12th Night Party held in January, Elizabeth "Eboo" Sauls got a piece of king cake in which a small plastic baby had been hidden, in keeping with Mardi Gras tradition. That baby granted her status as new Mardi Gras royalty and entitled her to choose a royal partner. Often one to buck tradition, Sauls decided to take on the role of Mardi Gras King and selected Nicole White to be her Queen. Both Sauls and White are members of Asheville Second Line, a New-Orleans-style band which supports Mardi Gras events throughout the year. Sauls, in fact, was a founding member of the band.

"I want to party with a purpose," said Sauls regarding her reign as Mardi Gras king and her vision for the organization. "As we are finally a 501(c)(3) organization, I wish to take Asheville Mardi Gras to an even greater philanthropic place," she added, looking to expand the group's existing charity-minded efforts which already include working with the Asheville Greenworks Adopt-A-Street program (Banks and Buxton in South Slope) and visiting nursing homes in festive costumes to spread joy.

"I love how accepting and encouraging the local Mardi Gras community has been," added White, who is originally from New York state. "Everyone has been very helpful, and I'm lucky to have such a knowledgeable King. I thought my love of New Orleans music simply led me to take up the banjo. But it led this Yankee gal to Mardi Gras royalty -- how unexpected and fun!"

WILD TIMES

Each year, Asheville Mardi Gras picks a theme for the event, which is Asheville's only other official parade aside from the Holiday Parade. Last year's theme, for example, was "Ashevillage People," chosen to show the unity that's emblematic of our mountain town. This year, the theme is "Wild Wild Asheville."

"Our theme this year leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which is perfect for such a creative city" said Asheville Mardis Gras executive committee chair Diane Curry. "It can refer to the wild spirit Ashevillians embrace, the wild nature that surrounds our mountain town, or the wild ingredients found in our beers and food."

While the theme gives a general shape to the parade, participants are always welcome to either riff off that theme or do something completely different. Saul's and White's Second Line float, for example, will have a viking theme.

UPWARD SLOPE

This will be the second year in a row that the Mardi Gras Parade will be held on South Slope. Last year the parade was moved from its downtown location due to the Fed Cup Tennis competition.

"The businesses on South Slope have welcomed us with enthusiasm and support," said Curry. "I think we've found our forever home."

Parade participants will line up along Federal Alley from between 1 PM and 2 PM on Sunday March 3. The parade will then step off at its traditional time of 3:05 PM and head east on Hilliard Ave before turning south on Coxe Ave. The parade will then continue east on Banks Ave, turn briefly south on Church St., then west on Buxton Ave. and back to Federal Alley to finish up.

All are invited to march in the parade either by forming a krewe or joining a pre-existing krewe. The only requirement is that at least one person holds an Asheville Mardi Gras membership and that each krewe provides a volunteer to help with traffic flow on the day of the event. Krewe information can be found on the Asheville Mardi Gras website here:http://www.ashevillemardigras.org/krewes/.

Memberships to Asheville Mardi Gras, a non-profit group, cost $25 and provide discounted and/or free access to other AMG activities throughout the year such as the Twelfth Night Party and the Cajun Cook Off (February 17, at The Salvage Station).

After the parade, the Queen's Ball will be held at The Century Room at Pack's Tavern, starting at 5 PM and running till 10 PM. The event, which is free to the public, will feature creative performances, live music by Boogi Therapi and Pleasure Chest, and an award for the best costume.

Additional parade and Queen's Ball information can be found here:https://www.ashevillemardigras.org/parade-and-queens-ball.

About Asheville Mardis Gras

Asheville Mardi Gras is a non-profit 501(c)(3) social aid and pleasure club as well as an arts and culture group. Our purpose is to strengthen Western North Carolina’s community connections through promoting creativity, frivolity and celebration, based on the traditions of Mardi Gras. For more information on becoming a member and all AMG events, check us out atwww.AshevilleMardiGras.org​ or join our groups page on Facebook. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

For more information, contact communications director Michael Franco at

writermikef@gmail.com​ or 914-410-6605.