Jen Van Tieghem | Staff Writer
Music, food and drinks — what more could you want from Hillcrest Fat Tuesday?
Well apparently you wanted to see the Mardi Gras-style street festival back in its original location and the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) listened.
“Although last year was a blast, nothing beats the original,” said Megan Gamwell, HBA’s marketing and communications program manager. “There was an overwhelming amount of response from the community to return to the original location, so we could incorporate businesses that had become a staple of the event.”
Feb. 17 the event will take over University Avenue between First and Fourth avenues from 6 – 11 p.m., with two stages, two bars, an exclusive VIP area with a private bar, food vendors, beads, beads and more beads — 10,000 strands to be exact.
The 21-and-up event promises several New Orleans-inspired elements including Cajun food, a Zydeco band, stilt walkers, carnival-style performances and lots of imbibing.
The latter will come with some help from Fat Tuesday sponsor SKYY Vodka who will be serving limited-edition specialty cocktails.
That aforementioned VIP area will be located on Third Avenue between Fiesta Cantina and Urban MO’s with a rotation of food sponsors changing each hour, including Babycakes, East Coast Pizza, Fiesta Cantina and MO’s Universe. VIP ticket holders will be able to choose a food item from one of these sponsors plus two drinks and access to an elevated viewing platform in the VIP area.
Even if you opt for general admission, you’ll still have plenty to do with thousands of beads being distributed, vendors with festive masks, and food trucks on hand including: Mastiff Sausage Company, New Orleans Cuisine and Catering, and American Flavors.
“Some of the new elements include a Rich’s San Diego main stage,” Gamwell said. “Similar to what you saw at Nightmare on Normal Street, which was a huge success.”
Tootie from Lips will host the main stage with performances by the ladies of Lips. An additional DJ stage will offer a varied music experience and plenty of reasons to dance.
Another tradition of Fat Tuesday that will continue for the 13th year in a row is the donation of 50 percent of the event’s proceeds to the GSDBAF Charitable Foundation Annual Youth Scholarship Program.
VIP tickets are $50 in advance and $75 the day of; general admission tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of.
For a chance to win tickets and get a sneak peak sampling of SKYY Vodka’s special Fat Tuesday Cocktail Menu, check out one of the many pre-parties at participating venues around Hillcrest (see sidebar).
For more information and to purchase tickets for Fat Tuesday on Feb. 17, visit HillcrestFatTuesday.com. Don’t forget to take pictures of all the fun and hashtag them with #HillcrestFatTuesday on social media!
—Jen Van Tieghem can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.