“In February we were debating the direction of this year’s show,” said Joyce R. Kressler, executive director of First Night Worcester. “It (the ‘Arty Gras’ theme) was chosen because of the culture that is Mardi Gras and that Mardi Gras is a celebration. And it was a play on words. We never could have imagined the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.”Nay, good people of Worcester, Arty Gras must go on. And it will.
“We didn’t want people to think we were using the theme to capitalize on the tragedy … We actually toyed with the idea of not using the theme.”
Sure, this festival is far from New Orleans and Louisiana, but it is still helping out by employing local and regional bands. They also bought “500 pounds of Mardi Gras beads that First Night ordered directly from a company in the Louisiana Gulf. The company’s factory was destroyed by Katrina, Kressler said, and is currently conducting its business out of trailers.”
So, all together now: “Arty Gras mambo, mambo, mambo… up in Worcester!”