Havre de Grace Mardi Gras parade a nice new tradition [Commentary]

The only questions six years ago when the tradition started in Havre de Grace were why had no one thought of it before, and why did so few people show up for the first one.

This year, the event drew a reasonably healthy crowd that was very well-behaved, considering the nature of the festivities, being a traditional last hurrah before the fasting season of Lent. The event, of course, is the Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Parade that came to full blossom last week on Bourbon Street in Havre de Grace.

It was something of a natural for Havre de Grace, which is brimming with outdoor festivities starting in the springtime and extending well into the Christmas season and on to New Year's Eve. The city was, however, lacking any substantial midwinter outdoor festivities, yet, like New Orleans, traditional ground zero for a more boisterous brand of Fat Tuesday festivities, Havre de Grace has a Bourbon Street. It's not a coincidence, by the way. Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of the Crescent City is named for the French royal family that held the throne when the Louisiana territory was a possession of France. Louisiana is named for the preeminent monarch in French history, Louis XIV, known as the Sun King.

Many Havre de Grace city streets are named for people, places and ideas linked to the American Revolution, starting with Revolution Street and including Congress, Freedom, Washington, Green, Alliance and others, for various reasons. Bourbon, of course, was the dynasty on the throne when France came to the aid of the American cause.

Similarly, a county in Kentucky is named for the French monarchs, and that county gives its name to the signature American incarnation of whiskey, a libation that's somewhat notorious for its association with Fat Tuesday celebrations.

This year's celebration in Havre de Grace was a substantial step up from the original Mardi Gras parade in the city six years ago, but it is just a small version of what goes on in New Orleans. At this point, it's probably about the right size, and in possession of the right amount of child-friendliness that such a celebration warrants in Havre de Grace.

And it provides a nice break in the doldrums of winter.

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