Football, fairies highlight Fat Tuesday feasts

Pair of Mardi Gras celebrations in Auburn
By: Paul Cambra, Features Editor
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Mardi Gras, Auburn style
Fat Tuesday meets Super Bowl Sunday
When: 6-10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sierra Building, Gold Country Fairgrounds, Auburn
Cost: $10
More: Live music by the Crackerjack Jazz Band. Hurricane rum cocktails, margaritas, beer, wine, masks, beads and food available for purchase.
Benefits: Gold Country Rotary community projects
Info: (530)389-2502

Mardi Gras with the Sugar Plump Fairies
8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Feb. 9
Where: Auburn Masonic Hall. 956 Lincoln Way
Cost: $20 advance, $25 at the door. 21 and older.Tickets available at, Sun River Trading Company and Polished.
More: Live music with A Stone’s Throw. Entry fee includes beverages, finger food and games.
Benefits: ARTRageous grant program.
Info: (530) 613-3316, (530) 368-1952

Just because we’re more than 2,000 miles away from New Orleans, doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate Mardi Gras in Auburn. Sure, Fat Tuesday is still 11 days away, but it’s close enough to break out the beads and beignets. Besides, some traditions consider Mardi Gras the entire time between Epiphany (Jan. 6) and Fat Tuesday (Feb. 12). So why wait?
The folks at Gold Country Rotary won’t. They’re ready to get going Saturday, the night before the Super Bowl.
“It’s all come together perfectly,” said Ralph Smith, who will take over the reins as Gold Country Rotary President this year. “We’ve got the 49ers in the Super Bowl — they’re kind of a gold country theme — it’s put on by the Gold Country Rotary, and the game is being played in New Orleans this year.”
Of course, when they scheduled the event, they didn’t know for sure the 49ers would be playing in the big game. But it has definitely made it more interesting. And while guests are encouraged to dress in purple, green and gold garb, you may see a little more red this year.
“We have a costume contest, and people realize the link between football and Mardi Gras this year,” said Lynne Tinel, also of the Gold Country Rotary. “So we’ll get both football costumes and Mardi Gras costumes. People are going to be looking to celebrate so now they’ll be celebrating the 49ers as well … the same way they would celebrate at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.”
Come Monday, the football season will be over. But for those who want more Mardi Gras, here come the Sugar Plump Fairies to the rescue.
“The Fairies’ motto is ‘more is better,’” said Fran Haynes, president of the Sugar Plump Fairies, “so who knows what to expect when it comes to masks. One of us has made a gigantic papier mâché mask as the centerpiece.”
Haynes said people go out of their way for the hot meatballs and the shrimp, and there will be lots of finger foods “to help ground people with all of those celebration beverages,” which will include a still-to-be-determined punch creation.
“We’ll go ahead and call it Cajun Madness,” Haynes said.
For anyone who has not been to a Sugar Plump Fairies event, the group has a stable full of pink flamingos that they dress up for the occasion to decorate the tables.
“I’m sure it will be something with feathers,” she said.
But they definitely do not want the flamingos to be the only ones dressed for the occasion.
“Costumes are encouraged,” said Sugar Plump Fairy Rita Paiz. “Anything goes. It can be Mardi Gras theme or fairy theme if you’d like.”
And if you don’t happen to have fairy garb lying around your closet, this could be your lucky night.
“One of the raffle prizes is a ‘fairy in a basket,’” Paiz said. “Everything you need to become a fairy for a night.”
Funds raised at the Mardi Gras 2013 & Super Bowl Pre-Party will go toward Gold Country Rotary community projects. Proceeds from the Sugar Plump Fairies Mardi Gras will go to the ARTRageous grant program. Both events feature live music – The Crackerjack Jazz Band this Saturday and A Stone’s Throw the next. And yes, both are brushing up on their Cajun and zydeco riffs.
So, you don’t have to be a football fans or a fairy to take part in either event, just know you’ll be helping out a good cause at either one.