Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Photo by www.monsoursphotography.net 

January 6 . . . a date known by many names. Many churches call it Epiphany. In Mexico, it is the Day of the Holy Kings. To the Irish, it is Little Christmas. Roman Catholics know it as Joan of Arc’s birthday. But here in Louisiana, it’s Twelfth Night!

Twelfth Night marks the beginning of Mardi Gras season. In Lake Charles, we celebrate with an annual Twelfth Night Extravaganza! At this much-anticipated event held at the Lake Charles Civic Center, the royal courts of local krewes parade through the arena and make their exit, thus paving the way for the new krewe kings and queens. In typical Mardi Gras tradition, it is a night of glitz, glamour, pomp, and pageantry.

Photo by www.monsoursphotography.net 
When my family and I moved to southwest Louisiana seven years ago, the reality of Mardi Gras was the greatest revelation to this naïve uninformed transplant. Prior to our move, I thought (as do most Yankees) Mardi Gras was an event in New Orleans on Fat Tuesday, the night before Lent starts. Oh, and they had a parade. That's all I knew of Mardi Gras.

Photo by www.lindseyjanies.com
I could not have been more mistaken. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Mardi Gras is not a mere day but an entire season! And not only in New Orleans, but across the entire state! I was shocked that it is a state-recognized holiday, when businesses close and the kids are off school for several days.

Balls, parades, king cakes, gumbo cook-offs, trail rides, chicken runs, giddy merriment, indulgence . . . to me, it was all new, magical, mysterious. Mardi Gras continues to be a source of curiosity, fascination, and bemusement for me.

Back to the Twelfth Night Extravaganza . . . despite my fascination, I did not attend this event until last year. And I wondered why I had waited so long. It’s a rollicking good time. Lake Charles has over 60 krewes and is second in the state only to New Orleans with the number of krewes participating in Mardi Gras activities.

Photo by www.monsoursphotography.net 

Most of these krewes join the celebration at Twelfth Night Extravaganza. The costumes are colorful, sparkly, feathery, elaborate, and truly something to behold. Revelers on floats toss candy and shiny Mardi Gras beads to the enthusiastic crowd. Each person in attendance receives a small piece of King Cake. Twelve lucky winners find the “baby” in their piece of cake and win fantastic prizes.

Whether it’s a family tradition or your first time to attend, make plans to see the Lake Charles Twelfth Night Extravaganza January 6, 7 p.m.
Tickets are $5 in advance, $6 at the door. Children 5 and under admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at Joseph’s Electric, Gordon’s Drug Store, Party Time Store, and Moss Bluff Flower.

To read more of Angie's adventures, check out her blog, angiekaydilmore.blogspot.com.