By Devan Strebing firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — SPEEDWAY — Cold temperatures did little to dampen the Town of Speedway’s latest event: the inaugural Mardi Gras on Main Pub Crawl last Friday.
The event was put on by the Speedway Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with several Main Street businesses including Dawson’s on Main, Barbecue and Bourbon, Lino’s Coffee, and Dallara IndyCar Factory.
The scene down Main Street resembled that of downtown New Orleans. There were people in costumes, a person on stilts and beads and T-shirts being given away.
Each of the locations had a special New Orleans menu and/or a specialty Mardi Gras drink. Dallara had live music from the band Audiodacity from 9 p.m. to midnight for a $5 cover. Attendees were able to purchase a $5 cup, which provided them with $2 off of the specialty drink at each stop.
Dawson’s on Main had a special Mardi Gras menu and drink.
“Our special drink is a hurricane cocktail; for dinner; jumbalaya, grilled oysters, gumbo, spicy shrimp, Cajun pasta; all are big hits,” restaurant manager Diane Hill said. “We participate in everything that the town of Speedway does; Connie Harris is the guru, she gets everything organized and she helps us with everything. It’s been slow for all of the businesses right now but she came up with the idea for the Mardi Gras and it’s a hit.”
The process of getting the event started took a few months of meetings with the chamber and the businesses.
“Everyone’s been involved,” Hill said. “We all support each other. It’s great. Everyone’s been stuck inside in the crappy weather and we came up with this and it’s wonderful. We didn’t know how it was going to be, but we’ve had people come dressed up ... we don’t even have enough tables for all of the people here.”
Dawson’s awarded prizes to those coming in with the best costume. They gave away four $25 gift cards to the restaurant, T-shirts and beads.
Many of Hills’ staff were working, with one of the chefs knowing from experience how to make that jumbalaya.
“I’m from the south, so this is how it influenced me to make the jumbalaya,” John Garcia said. “I was around Mardi Gras for a long time. Tonight has been busy, but good.”
Hill said they plan to participate again next year.
“I can’t wait until next year’s, I’m already thinking about all the things we can do to improve,” she said. “Speedway has been so wonderful to us. We’ve got loyal customers that even in this crappy weather they still come.”
Patrons stood in line to get into Lino’s, Barbecue and Bourbon, and Dallara as well.
Town officials and business owners are now looking forward to Rockin’ on Main, scheduled for this May.