Happy Fat Tuesday: Celebrate & Learn About the Cultural Roots of Mardi Gras

Happy Fat Tuesday!

It may be business as usual here in New England, but way down south in New Orleans they are having a huge party! Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) has arrived, and the whole city is celebrating! The traditions of Mardi Gras take all forms, and encompass everything from cake to sequins in an all-out celebration of local culture.

Mardi Gras’ roots lie in Catholicism, as the day after Mardi Gras- Ash Wednesday – begins the season of Lent, wherein members of the church give up certain indulgences until Easter Sunday. In order to prepare for Lent, New Orleanians celebrate like mad and spend a day truly enjoying all of the good things in life. Mardi Gras is perhaps best known for its parades filled with outrageous floats, unbelievable costumes, and lavish decorations and embellishments. In addition to these events, Mardi Gras brings together beignets and King Cake, Cajun and Zydeco music, Native American traditions, and thousands of strings of beads to create one of the most fascinating celebrations in America. Click here for online resources…

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole

Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole
Iron Horse Music Hall ♦ Northampton
Friday, June 3rd, 2011 @ 7pm

We're giving away two pair of tickets for a night of Cajun music with Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole at the Iron Horse Music Hall on June 3rd! Zydeco dance lessons at intermission! Deadline to enter to win: 5/31 @ 7pm.

Hilltown Families and Iron Horse Entertainment Group have partnered up to offer a chance to win free tickets to see adult venues in the Pioneer Valley for a PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT! You pay for the sitter, we’ll pay for the tickets!

For June we are pleased to offer a two chances to win a pairs of tickets to see Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole on Friday, June 3rd, 7pm at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA. There will even be Zydeco dance lesson with Larry Kauffman at the break!

Win the tickets and take your spouse, partner or good friend for a night out. Deadline to enter to win is Tuesday, 05/31/11 @ 7pm (EST). More details below.


One of the most noted young talents to emerge in Cajun or Creole music in the past few years, Cedric Watson is a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, vocalist, accordionist and songwriter of seemingly unlimited potential. Born in 1983, Cedric grew up in San Felipe, Texas surrounded by the sounds of blues, old soul, country and zydeco. Unlike his hip-hop focused peers, Cedric was drawn to the old-style French songs of Southwest Louisiana and the greater Houston area. He soon made his way to Lafayette, LA where he was enthusiastically accepted into the musical community and immediately recognized as an important participant in the continuity of Creole music. — www.cedricwatson.com

Listen up to Cedric’s song, Zydeco Paradise:


Your chance to win a pair of tickets to see Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole on Friday, June 3rd, 7pm at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA is easy & simple!  To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Tuesday, 05/31/11 @ 7pm (EST)

If you don’t win you should still go. Tickets are available at the Northampton Box office, online at IHEG.com, or by calling 413-586-8686.

Laissez le Bon temp rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

Notes from Nan: Things to Do When It’s Hot Out
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

More news on Elmer’s Big Cajun fest!

I talked to Gus our guest chef this morning and Lord, this is going to be a spectacle! More than just fun, it’s an out-right spectacle! Most towns in the whole world never get this much outside!

So Gus and his crew are coming to Ashfield on Wednesday and on Thursday (June 18th & 19th) they’re setting up all their stuff to cook outside. We’re frying turkeys (first you inject them with the Cajun Injector, then you fry them, whole in the big rig Gus is bringing with him!) Cajuns like to cook and when they cook, they like to cook for lots and lots of people.

Then he’s bringing a big, black caldron in which to make his jambalaya—he says it tastes best that way and then he’s bringing some sort of other outside oven he calls the Cajun microwave and I have no idea what in the world that is, but I’m betting that it is something that was invented way before regular old American microwaves ever were.

And he’s adding to the menu: He’s now including some sort of Baked Eggplant thing.

Now, one would usually say, “You don’t want to miss this”, but I’m thinking that by the time the whole thing is said and done, you’ll want to cancel your summer vacation for this. This looks to be a whole adventure right here at home!

Come early (on Thursday or in the day on Friday just to watch and learn and talk with Gus. He has tales to tell! He cooks for people all over the world (big corporate people, big fancy people, little funny people) and FOR US AT ELMER’S! You are going to love yourself some Gus! Every body does!

Come for the food, come for the dance, come for the music, come just for the experience!

Friday, June 20th! 5pm! ($)

Now, this Saturday we’re having a smaller, less wilder outdoor event, and that will be … Read the rest of this entry »

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