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Mardi Gras a raucous, high-energy blast

February 8th, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life

Story and photos by Cassidee Cline

LOGAN—The real start of Mardi Gras had to wait for the Aggies to finish off Nevada on the basketball court, but once the Wolf Pack was tamed, students flocked into the TSC Saturday night in a crush of costumes, feathers, beads and painted faces.

Revelers crowded around tables with their best multi-colored poker faces to win prizes at high-risk casino games. Others danced to a playlist mixed by DJ Marcus from Studio 600. The night was filled with can-can dancers, photos, shows and prizes.

“Mardi Gras was at first competing with the basketball game,” said Erin Reeder, ASUSU programming vice president. The WAC matchup in the Spectrum started around the same time as the big party, but as soon as the game was over students flooded into the TSC.

“Putting it together has been a rollercoaster,” ASUSU activities chairman Keni Stuart said. “There are so many thing in putting a party together, it’s been so much fun.”

The planning started months ago, said ASUSU activities director Joshua Nagao.

“I think the event was a huge success,” Nagao said. “We had more people this year than ever before.” He said the committee planned for about 2,000 partiers, but organizers think roughly 3,000 attended.

The night included a full casino filling the International Lounge, a dance in the TSC ballroom with strobe lights and loud music, tarot card readers, mystics and spiritual mediums. Face-painting and airbrush art, along with a photo booth set up by Dave Brewer occupied the first floor of the TSC, while hypnotist Joanna Cameron from Virginia performed shows for students throughout the night.

Gamblers tried their luck at blackjack, Texas hold’ em, craps and the roulette wheel.

Colton Roberts played every table available. Though he didn’t win with cards, Roberts said it wasn’t just the casino that interested him. “I came mostly for the girls and the dancers, “ he said. “The best part about the night is the social networking.”

Nagao said the event was planned to be more inclusive for students.

“This year we wanted to have the casino be a huge part of what we did, so we made it about twice as big, moved it to the TSC lounges, and got some really great prizes in hopes that people would focus on it, and I think it turned out great.“

Though Utah law prohibits gambling, Nagao said they were able to get around that by not gambling for money. “High rollers” who won a lot of chips, Nagao said, had the chance of winning a 32-inch Samsung plasma TV, an iPod Touch and Skull Candy headphones or a digital camera.

Students who weren’t interested in gambling or had bad luck could take part in a costume contest, where winners received $75 gift cards to Hamilton’s Steak House for best-dressed male and female, or a $75 gift card to Best Buy for the most creative costumes.

There was also an opportunity to win $50 just by eating cake. The King’s cake is a Mardi Gras tradition where a plastic baby, representing the baby Jesus, is baked into a circle cake topped with frosting and Mardi Gras colors of gold, purple and green.

Whoever who gets a slice with the plastic baby embedded is said to have good luck. This year, Nagao said, the student activities board purchased 50 of the prize cakes from Old Grist Mill.

“The people who got babies in their cakes got to go in the money tank for 30 seconds,” he said. “We put cash and gift cards in it and it ran basically all night.” Forced-air in the money tank swirls the cash and coupons around as the winners try to grab wildly at the potential prizes.

The party-goers had a blast. Kailey Smith, a junior biology major, said she came for the face-painting and temporary tattoos. But she also learned from the psychics that that her life would be a success. “I’m just here to have fun,” she said.

Events like Mardi Gras, the Howl at Halloween and the year-end bash on April 9 are put together by the ASUSU activities board.


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  1. One Response to “Mardi Gras a raucous, high-energy blast”

  2. By Jeremy Nichols on Feb 10, 2010

    Well written Cassidee!

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