By: David Waterman
Mardi Gras is the pinnacle event for McNicholas each year and while everyone knows what happens during the pageant and dance, much of what happens can go unnoticed. Because of this, the Milestone chose the top five notable moments from McNick’s 65th annual Mardi Gras pageant and dance held Feb. 19.
The first Mardi Gras pageant and dance took place in 1953 and has continued for 65 years.
- The Dance Circle and “Big Bad Bill”
Started by Senior Ben Johnston, the dance circle was short lived at the dance but exciting. It was spearheaded with breakdancing, followed with the worm by Turpin student Alex Fehrenbach, who was a guest of senior of Cameron Cheevers, and finished with students leading Juju on That Beat. Shortly after the song began, cheers broke out shouting “Big Bad Bill,” Mardi Gras committee chair and math teacher Bill Losekamp’s nickname, attempting to get him to dance to the song. Addressing why he had not fully Juju-ed, he said, “The dance is not about me, it’s about the students.” A few dance moves later and the song was over, but students continued to dance and enjoy the night.
- Jake Speed & the Freddies
The performance of Ohio Bluegrass by the band Jake Speed & the Freddies had students singing aloud and bouncing about on stage. Despite a joke that fell flat, students were still laughing and participating, especially when the band performed Ohio River Blues off their 2004 album Huzzah!
- The Pecks
The theme of Mardi Gras was ‘Appalachian Spring.’ This theme was executed with greenery, mountain scenery, and…chickens. There were two chickens in the lobby of McNicholas until about 9:30 p.m., with a sign on their cage warning students to keep their fingers away. Some students took to foregoing the dancing and simply watching the chickens for quite a while.
Jacob Jones, son of librarian Anne Jones, and Ronni Nance, daughter of band and music teacher Keith Nance, were the pages carrying the queen’s train. Before the event, Jones planned to color on stage while sitting on the pillows and waiting for it to be over. In the practice the night before, he wore a Chewbacca hoodie that got the men of the court excited for the proceedings. When they made it to the stage, the pages were met with “oohs” and “ahs” from the students.
- King and Queen
Jacob Fries and Christiane Hazzard were first announced as Mardi Gras King and Queen in the library only moments before the procession into the gym. In the moments before being chosen, “I was really nervous,” Hazzard said. It was clear that there were tears in both of their eyes and a sort of nervous excitement in the air.