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HHS Mardi Gras celebration to be held Feb. 28

People reach to catch beaded necklaces at last year's Mardi Gras celebration at Hastings High School. (File photo)

The Hastings High School French program invites the community to "Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler," or "Let the Good Times Roll" from 5-8 p.m. Feb. 28. The HHS commons area will be transformed into a Mardi Gras celebration area.

"We're trying to connect the community to something French and that's one celebration that's fun to celebrate," said Erica Petersen, a HHS French teacher.

The annual event, hosted by the HHS French program, is of French origin. Petersen said that Mardi Gras, meaning Fat Tuesday, is a day of celebration for people all over the world. Traditionally, it is one of the biggest days of living it up before Ash Wednesday, she said.

Mardi Gras celebrations are pretty well known in areas like New Orleans, Brazil, France or Italy, but Hastings has had their own celebration for years.

"It's really unique in the fact that we are the only one in the state that puts on a large community event like that, so I think it's a nice way to connect with the community," Petersen said.

The event will have games, food, beverages and offer a chance to win prizes.

Kids will have the opportunity to jump around in a large blowup castle, participate at a craft station, play assorted games, participate in a cupcake eating contest and more. Facepaint will also be available, which Petersen said could be quite elaborate, given some of the talented students she has in her classes.

A bead toss will also take place during the event. The high school seniors will have the opportunity to toss beads off the bridge to a crowd of people below.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the door. One ticket will cost 50 cents, 12 tickets will be $5 and 25 tickets will cost $10. Food will be available for purchase in the food area. There will be pizza, homemade crepes, desserts and beverages.

Kids will be given "doubloons," or purple and green coins, when they play the games. The doubloons can be used to win an assortment of prizes. Mardi Gras beads and masks will be available to win with doubloons or for purchase at the boutique.

Petersen said that it is a great accomplishment for her students to pull off such a big event like Mardi Gras each year. It allows them to take on more leadership roles and feel empowered, she said. In addition, it is a great learning opportunity.

"Culture is a big part of language learning," Petersen said.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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