Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mardi Gras in Summit: Canine royalty in Frisco, gumbo champs in Keystone

#Summit County, Colorado.

Summit County channeled its inner Big Easy this week with Mardi Gras celebrations in Frisco, Keystone and Breckenridge. From costumed characters to a doggie “yappy” hour and more award-winning gumbo than you could possibly eat, locals and visitors dressed up in their best purple, green and gold and ushered in Fat Tuesday in style.
Lapping up the fun in Frisco
More than 70 dogs and their two-legged friends registered for this year’s Mardi Paws Barkus parade in Frisco on Saturday, Feb. 14, benefitting League for Animals and People of the Summit (LAPS). Sally Beerup, LAPS president, said even more “off the street” people bought tokens for gumbo, liquor and the Doggie Brew Yappy Hour.
“We bottled our own Doggie Brew, chicken/beef broth, this year, complete with custom labels showing a few of the doggie participants from last year, and it almost sold out,” she said.
The parade has become the No. 2 biggest annual fundraiser for LAPS, Beerup said, behind the K94K, which this year will be held on Saturday, Aug. 1, and the No. 3 moneymaker, Let’s Go Boating, taking place Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14.
“Part of the reason LAPS does all these events is so families can have some safe fun with their furry best friends and, in the process, help the deserving, but less fortunate, local pets and families,” Beerup said. “LAPS is an all-volunteer nonprofit with very little overhead, no office or equipment, so almost every penny we take in goes directly back to our community.”
This year, those pennies from the Barkus parade added up to about $3,500, which will help fund the LAPS spay/neuter and medical/surgical financial-aid programs for low-income families. The organization gives back to the community about $60,0000 per year, with the help of memberships, businesses, grants, donations and fundraisers, Beerup said.
Mardi Paws wouldn’t be possible without the support of sponsors such as The Lost Cajun restaurants in Frisco and Breckenridge, which donated a large cash sum plus all the gumbo and beignets, beer sponsor New Belgium and the town of Frisco, Beerup said, adding that the unique, fun event is one she looks forward to.
“From the planning to just being part of the event day — watching all the happy dogs and owners with the crazy costumes and the astounded looks on the faces of the people driving or walking by, many of whom wander over to watch all the fun,” she said. “Did I mention the delicious Lost Cajun gumbo/beignets?”
Keystone names gumbo champs
In the Keystone Neighbourhood Co. conference room, aromas of chicken, sausage and seafood wafted through the air as three local celebrity judges tucked into their first samples in the Professional category of Keystone’s Mardi Gras gumbo competition.
Mike Giri, executive chef at Sevens in Breckenridge; Bill Sodetz, district sales manager for Shamrock Foods; and Miranda Crawford, sales manager for NRC Broadcasting, took turns commenting on the thickness of the rue and the balance of the protein and spices in entries for the two contest categories, seafood/exotic and chicken/sausage.
After more than a dozen tastes, the judges gave Mountain House Dining, under the direction of chef Dave Scott, top honors in the seafood/exotic category, and Zuma Roadhouse was named best of the field for chicken/sausage.
Out in River Run Village, Summit County band Funky Johnson filled the plaza with Cajun-inspired funk for Fat Tuesday, as locals and visitors threw down their own votes for the People’s Choice prize, honoring Hyatt Place Denver with the gold for the team’s two varieties of gumbo featuring handmade Andouille and blood sausages.
New street fest in Breckenridge
The Mardi Gras parade was retired in Breckenridge this year, in favor of a new Fat Tuesday Street Party on Main Street and the Blue River Plaza.
Swing music from Chris Daniels & the Kings filled the streets, while towering puppets and a troupe of fire dancers set the scene. Revelers drank cocktails and danced in all of their Fat Tuesday finery, and the after party continued late into the evening a local bars and restaurants, which offered up New Orleans-themed food and drink specials.
Visit this story at for more photos from Frisco, Keystone and Breckenridge.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.