On Saturday night, March 2, people dolled up in masks and feathery costumes decorated in purple, green and yellow beaded necklaces filled the Cascade Hall at the Axe & Rose Public House. The Mardi Gras featured a buffet of authentic creole cuisine and zydeco music by the Gator Nation Band.

A fundraiser to help restore the historic McCloud courthouse and jail turned into the gala of the season with a Mardi Gras bash that sold out, drawing people from as far as Chico.

On Saturday night, March 2, people dolled up in masks and feathery costumes decorated in purple, green and yellow beaded necklaces filled the Cascade Hall at the Axe & Rose Public House. The Mardi Gras featured a buffet of authentic creole cuisine and zydeco music by the Gator Nation Band.

Lead by a costumed jester, the band played music as they marched through the hall, around the tables and up onto the stage.

“The buffet ... had a huge variety of food with real New Orleans flavor. The band was fantastic. I liked it that you could just get up and cut loose with the fun music,” said one of the vent’s coordinators, Kenna Edwards.

“Awesome Cajun cooking,” said Corinne Melton, who went to the event with her husband. “I especially loved the fried catfish with shrimp and chicken gumbo. There were so many choices of dishes that were all so delicious.”

The festive affair was decorated with thousands of colorful beaded necklaces, most of which were donated by Michael Crow of Yreka.

“People were surprised how nice it was for being our first Mardi Gras. There were a lot of folks that helped make this such a grand event. And I want to thank all the people who donated also,” said Edwards.

Two McCloud residents, Kenny Nicholas and Ronda Elliot, were appointed “sheriffs” and were arresting people left and right to put in the homemade Mardi Gras jail that sat in the corner with a sign for people to bail them out.

There were lists of McCloud crimes, such as “baiting the bears,” “not waving while driving in town,” and “cutting in line at the Post Office.” Among the people jailed, Jim Peterson of Chico had his whole family of six were jailed and Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey himself ended up behind the bars.

“It is for the good towards the restoration of the oldest log courthouse in California,” Lopey said. It is unknown how much bail was paid for Lopey, who wasn’t jailed very long.

McCloud residents Carol Huebert and Kevin Dalton were elected Mardi Gras Queen and King. They each received a bottle of wine and a hand-etched wine glass made by Tracy Shirley while they were crowned on the stage between music sets.

Though there were a few runner ups, Patty Faulkner-Ballard won the costume contest by popular vote for her colorful tutu and purple feathery mask. She received a handmade heart basket containing a gift certificate to Rustic Blu.

Along with door prizes, there were many themed gift baskets raffled off and a silent auction that included a bicycle and wall hangings by local artist Wanda Welbourn.

“The excitement and anticipation of the night was waiting to find out who was voted King and Queen and for the costume winner. That was the highlight of the night for me,” said Faulkner-Ballard. “I loved everybody’s participation in dressing up in masks and beads and costumes. It was great fun. The whole place was festively decorated.”

For those who didn’t come wearing masks and hats, there were many to purchase at the door with all proceeds going toward the courthouse restoration project.

Party-goer Airiel Scotti said she was “astounded by the community support from folks donating auction items, time and creativity in preparing the event space and those who simply showed up to engage and bond together.” She added, “The generosity of Cindy Rosmann, Gary Bostwick (owners of the McCloud Hotel), Marianne Endoso (Axe & Rose) and their family of staff between the McCloud Hotel and Axe & Rose is unparalleled. They never turn down and opportunity to help bolster McCloud. But the event wouldn’t have been realized without the invention, artistry and collaborative efforts of Martin and Carolyn Glenn, and Kenna Edwards and her mother. Nothing is insurmountable for these quintessential do-er’s. I strongly admire their focus and positivity that they bring to our little town. I’ve never felt the impossible was so possible until I met these residents.”

“It was a group effort for the Mardi Gras success,” said Carolyn Glenn. “Marianne, Cindy, Gary and their staff did an amazing job decorating and hosting. Kenny and Ronda as sheriffs did a great job with the Jail and Bail. It was a huge success. It was a nice combination of old McCloudites and people who are just discovering McCloud as a fun destination place.”

“Next year’s Mardi Gras will be even better,” said Edwards. “But there is one question remaining: who got the baby in the king cake with the green and yellow frosting? They need to come forward before next year’s Mardi Gras.”