LEWISTON – On Saturday, Feb. 21, the Franco-American Heritage Center will present “Mardi Gras at the Center” in the tradition of a New Orleans Mardi Gras with music, spirits, masks and Cajun cuisine.

The Fat Tuesday party will start at 5:30 p.m. in Performance Hall and continue to Heritage Hall by “parade,” led by pirate-escort Phil Brookhouse. Music will be provided by Boréal Tordu, known for its blend of Acadian folk, Cajun swing, maritime ballads, fiddle tunes and foot-stomping French dance music.

Boréal Tordu began when fiddler Steve Muise and singer-songwriter Robert Sylvain discovered a mutual interest in the music of their shared Acadian heritage. Both are sons of native French-speaking parents.

Since 2003, Boréal Tordu has played to English- and French-speaking audiences throughout New England and in the Adirondacks in New York, Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes. The band has been featured three times on Maine’s “207” and on NPR; CIFA Radio 104.1, Nova Scotia; WMPG 90.9, Portland; CBC Radio Canada; Lakes Region Radio 94.1, Poultney, Vt.; and Robert Resnick’s “All the Traditions on Vermont Public Radio.”

The band’s 2006 release, “La Bonne Vie,” was called “an inspiration to the Franco-American community” by Dirty Linen Magazine, and has been heard on the PBS series “Now” with Bill Moyers.

For “Mardi Gras at the Center,” the kitchen will serve traditional Cajun food, including crab gumbo, jumbalaya, andouille with peppers, truffled bourbon mashed sweet potatoes and King Cake. Also known as Twelfth Night Cake, King Cake is actually a sweetened yeast bread, usually baked in a ring shape. It is frosted with gold, green and purple icing representing power, faith and justice, in that order. These traditional colors, dating back to 1872, were taken from a prominent Mardi Gras parade group called the Rex Krewe. Although the cake is colorful and tasty, the real fun hides within it. Spirits for the evening will be served at the Gnarly Gator cash bar.

Partygoers may come in costume, if they choose. Complimentary masks will be available in the main lobby, but people may craft their own. Guests are encouraged to arrive by 5:30 p.m. Admission is $20. Tables may be reserved by businesses and other groups. For tickets, call 689-2000.


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