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Mardi Gras draws beaded crowd

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 12:02


The Taggart Student Center was decked out in an array of purple, green and gold Saturday as ASUSU hosted its annual Mardi Gras dance. Hundreds of students wearing glitter and beads filled the building where various activities were presented throughout the evening. 

The ballroom was turned into a full casino where students could play for prizes at tables with craps, blackjack, poker and other card games. 

“The best part is by far the gambling,” said freshman Devin McGarry. “I sucked at it but it was great. I went all in, lost all my chips, but I love it to death.”

Besides the casino, the night held a variety of other activities. Airbrush tattoo artists sprayed students with temporary ink and USU’s Full Circle dance company performed routines throughout the night in the International Lounge. A showcase of reptiles was displayed outside the ballroom where students could hold snakes live snakes lizards.

“I wasn’t really scared until the snake was actually in my hands,” said senior Katie Carter. She said she had never held a reptile before then. “It started moving around and I could feel its muscles. It kinda freaked me out.”

ASUSU Programming VP Chaise Warr said they took a similar approach to Mardi Gras as they did to the Howl. Instead of spending all the money on one thing, Warr said they tried to have different activities the students could do. He said their main focus was making sure they listened to the volunteers and other students who helped plan the event.

“Then it becomes their activity and it’s more rounded,” Warr said. “We’re getting ideas from different groups of people.”

Warr said the committee planned the night with the students in mind.

“A lot of credit goes to the volunteers,” Warr said.

Hannah Blackburn, student activities director, said they decided not to have tarot card readings this year because it’s been at three-straight events previous to Mardi Gras, including the Howl. She said it’s hard to accommodate a lot of students in the lines because the readings take a lot of time. 

“We decided to go with the airbrush tattoos and oxygen bar as the novelties,” Blackburn said.

The oxygen bar was a popular attraction that night as students lined up to breathe the air through plastic hoses.

“It’s just like breathing air that’s flavored,” said graduate student Nick Foust. 

Foust said he tried all of the flavors and he didn’t feel any effect from it, such as an energy boost.

“That was my first time and it was pretty good,” Foust said.

Blackburn said the attendance level was about the same as Mardi Gras 2012, but about 200 more presale tickets were sold. She said the estimated budget for this year was about $18,000. 

“Everyone loves having the element of Mardi Gras,” Blackburn said. 

She said the event began as a tradition called Casino Night and was always held the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. It then turned into the Mardi Gras theme it has now, combining a variety of activities with the dance and gambling.

The USU Police Department issued three citations that night, all for underage drinking on campus, said Sgt. Travis Dunn. Another incident ended with a male being taken to the hospital in an ambulance after being injured on the dance floor.

“Basically he got hit on the head and felt like passing out,” Dunn said. 

Despite the injury, the dance in the Fieldhouse was one of the most popular attractions that night. Junior Anastasia Roundy said it was her favorite event and she loves DJ Marcus Wing.

“I really just came here to dance,” said Roundy, an exercise science major. “It’s just kind of a break.”



Twitter: @tmerabradley

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