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Mardi Gras brings New Orleans flavour to Great Yarmouth thanks to Seachange

PUBLISHED: 09:04 11 March 2011

WHETHER it was towering metal sculptures that spurted flame and resembled something from Mad Max, or the slightly more light-hearted pancake antics taking place nearby, Great Yarmouth’s Mardi Gras offered a range of entertainment.

Taking place on Tuesday afternoon, the Seachange Arts-run occasion on King Street was a celebration of the international flavours of the town hoping to bring a bit of the New Orleans flavour to the east coast.

And in contrast to last year’s dripping-damp effort, it was all blue skies and sunshine, as hundreds soaked in the atmosphere over the course of the two hour event.

Among those enjoying themselves was nine-year-old William Foster, who attends St Marys Primary School in Gorleston.

He said: “I think it’s quite nice really, and the sun is shining and people are smiling.

“I really liked the sculptures and the pancake race and it made my pancake day. I hope it comes back next year.”

Among the treats on offer for visitors like William were the international sounds of Swingball, who played an exotic array of instruments.

Meanwhile, he and many others gathered around the Total Crepe pancake challenge, in which members of the public joined a number of mischievous chefs to take on challenges, all to the loud whoops and cheers of those watching.

Also lining the street was a display named wacky wardrobes workshops, which followed a French tradition and allowed people to take part in carving, as well as an electric hamster race.

And, for the climax, it was a clash of the titans as winter chilly mascot Fatso battled Hempen, the bringer of the spring season.

Put on by internationally renowned performance artists Generik Vapeur, it re-enacted a Lithuanian tradition seeing in the coming of warmer weather, with those watching being given facemasks and choosing their allegiance.

Seachange Arts director Joe Mackintosh pointed to the growth of the Out There Festival, which the organisation also runs, as an example of how such events can evolve.

He said: “It’s going very well and it’s all running smoothly, and the weather is a wonderful improvement.

“For me it’s great to see everyone working together over the weekend to set this up, and we’re trying more and more to get the local community involved with what’s going on.”

Also taking place alongside the Mardi Gras was the Great Yarmouth Library Exhibition, which runs until Saturday, showcasing the thoughts and memories of the borough’s people.


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