Now that I'm a seasoned Mardi Gras vet though, I saw that poster as a call to action. A parade? With a theme? IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD?! You better believe that's happening!
I texted my friend Erin (our Mardi Gras hook up) right away.
Me: Should we just go ahead and pretend the Tomato Art Fest Parade is Mardi Gras this year??
Her: YES!First things first, we needed a theme. Erin called on her Mardi Gras crew (they do the most amazing things every single year) and immediately someone came up with an idea.
It was perfect. Punny and clever with lots of creative potential. Plus we'd get to wear rasta hats and listen to reggae music and hand out pasta necklaces like Mardi Gras beads!
Fun for the whole family!
All of our costumes were different and fantastic but I think the spaghetti dreads (aka, mop tops) were my favorite part. They were really hot though. I think I might be the only one who kept mine on all day. Once I put on a wig, I'm in it for the long haul...
Bill took his off fairly early on but it had already shed all over his (fabulously hand made) shirt.
I didn't realize it bothered him until a friend who was running a hot dog and sno-cone booth for Boy Scouts told me later that Bill came up to their booth during a particularly busy time and asked for some tape so he could de-lint himself.
Here's the only photo I really got of our float:
Cute, right? It was a big plate of "pasta" with a wooden palm tree sticking out (we hung the pasta necklaces on it), a bubble machine, music and a big rasta/tomato flag.
People must have liked it because we just found out that it won 1st place in the parade contest! Bragging rights alone would have been cool but there's also a cash prize - three hundred bucks! We already decided we'd have a big party if we won. The kids are super excited...
The parade itself was really fast and a little chaotic but there was a marching band and we got to hang out with the (possible) future mayor of Nashville so all in all, not bad for our first Tomato Art Fest Parade.
After the parade, Bill brilliantly suggested we find shade and set up camp STAT. We hustled over to a little grassy spot and spent the rest of the day hanging out, people watching, chatting with friends, drinking beer and checking out the rest of the festival.
Ice cream for breakfast? Why not!?
It was a super fun day that made me a little more appreciative of my (rapidly growing) neighborhood. Because when it started to get too hot and crowded and we had had enough fun for one day, we just had to walk a few blocks and we were home, sweet home.
I'm desperately hoping East Nashville can hold onto what makes it special and remember it's a community, not just the best little neighborhood in the latest "it city" (whatever that means). I really like it here and would hate to be driven out by developers looking to tear down all the character to put up more condos. Sigh. Stay awesome, Nashville. And please don't get too big for your britches...