Preparations for 11th Mardi Gras underway

Thursday, January 31, 2013

MALDEN, Mo. -- Though it's not the Super Bowl, the eleventh annual Mardi Gras celebration held at Malden's Bootheel Youth Museum will take on a similar feel for those attending on February 23 as this weekend's competition will for those visiting "The Big Easy".

The mystery of New Orleans has found its way to Malden as guests will find out when they arrive at the museum's back entrance (adjacent to the rear parking lot) Saturday, February 23.

Each year the crowds attending the dinner and auction to benefit the Bootheel Youth Museum have gotten larger. This year should be no exception.

With their mission in mind of "fostering an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and an insatiable curiosity about life," the eleventh annual Mardi Gras Benefit Dinner and Auction serves as the museum's primary annual fundraising activity.

Festivities start promptly at 6 p.m. that Saturday, but preparations began months prior with reserving the band and finding potential auction items. Following the end of Christmas season, full speed ahead is the rate at which the BYM Board of Directors function.

For the past several years, Gumbohead, a live zydeco band from St. Louis brought the sounds of the Bayou straight to the flatlands of Missouri. Guitars, saxophone, keyboard and drum tunes all combined to deliver an enthusiastic display of Cajun and pop music.

At last year's bash, a feast of shrimp, crawfish and oysters was shipped from Laplace, Louisiana by BRS Seafood. The group has catered BYM's Mardi Gras celebration for many years and the palatable sea food continues to be a favorite part of the evening for the party goers.

Miniature cheese cakes, a chocolate fountain, danishes and a King's cake have been popular delicacies.

Dinners, gift certificates, amusement park passes, overnight accommodations, and many other items have in the past been bid on in a silent auction. Collectors items, art pieces, autographed merchandise, and vacation packages were all part of the live auction.

Attendance has often exceeded 500. In past years, a sold-out sign was placed on the parking lot of the Museum several days before Mardi Gras and many more people continued to request tickets.

Despite all the good food, music, bargains and fun, the real reason to attend the Mardi Gras is to benefit the Museum itself. Proceeds collected through the night continue to support the Bootheel Youth Museum and the educational opportunities which the children who visit are given. The museum offers children exciting, inventive (and educational) fun where they can stand inside a bubble, "freeze" their shadow on a wall, write a check at the bank or make music on sewer pipes.

Thousands of visitors have experienced the museum's many exhibits exploring the worlds of math, science, human relations, natural resources and the arts. "This Island Mars" features over 20 interactive exhibits and an innovative visit to the Red Planet. The construction zone encourages creative building skills.

The Bootheel Youth Museum offers several other programs in addition to a 22,000-square-foot exhibit hall and 200-seat theater. An interactive Lewis and Clark exhibit is a popular spot for children to run and play while also learning. The museum hosts field trips, birthday parties and much more.

For additional information or the purchase of tickets, contact the museum online or call 573-276-3600.

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