Fat Tuesday arrived Saturday at the Columbia Mardi Gras Festival

Fat Tuesday arrived on Saturday in Columbia’s Rosewood neighborhood, as hundreds gathered to laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll) at the Columbia Mardi Gras Festival. It was hosted by the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya, in collaboration with Soda City and City Roots.

The festivities began with the Lagniappe 5K, followed by the annual parade from City Roots Farm through Rosewood and back to the farm.

Former state representative and current CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers served as grand marshal for the parade, which included the year’s Mardi Gras king and queen: local musician Bentz Kirby and Heroes in Blue founder Kassy Alia.

“Columbia’s the best place in the world,” Kirby said. “There’s always something to do here: don’t ever believe there’s not.”
The parade also featured the 282nd Army Band from Ft. Jackson and the Soda City Jazz Band.

The parade participants then joined spectators and all other comers for the festival at City Roots. More than a dozen bands performed on four stages as Abita Brewing Company and River Rat Brewery served up drinks and numerous vendors offered food and souvenirs.

Proceeds for the festival will be donated to Heroes in Blue. Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Ya is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to charitable works and letting the good times roll. Each Krewe member participates in the organization of the Lagniappe 5K, the Mardi Gras Parade, and the Mardi Gras Festival.