LTE: Beads, Beans, & BOOZE will be bigger, better than ever

This year the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is excited to expand its yearly Mardi Gras Celebration: Beans, Beads, and BOOZE, to the 18th and Vine Jazz District. In previous years we have welcomed friends, family and neighbors to our party; this year our vision outgrew our space. As the planning committee began to create a wish list of dreams, we realized that we needed to put our dreams into action.

We have to acknowledge that for some 20 plus years leaders within the Crossroads neighborhood have built an amazingly rich and vibrant carnival celebration that we hope one day will engage a City-wide audience in recognition of this season. With inspiration from Kelly’s Westport Inn and the success of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Kansas City, the NEKC Chamber Planning Committee thought how could anyone possibly do a Mardi Gras celebration without acknowledging Kansas City’s legacy of jazz and the 18th and Vine District.

Naturally, we explored the potential of community collaboration for this year’s celebration and the American Jazz Museum believed in our vision and welcomed us with open arms. As we continued to explore our theme, we naturally wanted the sounds of the Bayou and found a local Cajun band that we are excited to bring down to 18th and Vine. The spirit of our theme continued to take shape as other local vendors stepped up to the plate to collaborate. The new 18th and Vine Creole themed restaurant, Bayou on The Vine, jumped in and wanted to be a part of our celebration. This year, the NEKC Chamber stepped up it’s game and decided to showcase what our community stands for by bridging the gaps between two east-side neighborhoods striving to engage the rest of the city in the awesome work they are doing within their communities.

Imagine, five or ten years from now… our local 15 New Orleans-styled Krewe’s marching from their distinguished neighborhoods, floats and all, heading towards the 18th and Vine Jazz District where they are welcomed with the sounds of brass bands and beads thrown from the second story windows. There would be balls throughout the week prior, where the socially aware brush shoulder with KC’s best, while the bars along The Vine would showcase their finest talents. The party could hop from the time the sun sets to midnight, where the bars would empty to watch Kansas City’s finest, as KCPD’s mounted patrol leads the final parade of the night down 18th and Vine at midnight in true New Orleanian fashion. Only then the church bells of St. Monica’s would ring bright and early to remind us of the Lenten season.

Don’t get caught up in politics, just enjoy the party. Join us for a great time this Mardi Gras and either hop on our float (sober-ride) or meet us on the Vine. All proceeds from the celebration will be put towards covering the costs of this year’s celebration and ensure that next year we will be back again for another Carnival season.

To purchase tickets, please go to
www.nekcchamber.com, or tickets can be purchased at the door of the American Jazz Museum on the night of the event.

-Northeast Kansas City Chamber Of Commerce

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