Event celebrates Salida, New Orleans style

First Last Waltz Production, the team that brought Salida’s First Last Waltz to fruition in November, is getting the band back together – so to speak – for another event at the Salida SteamPlant Event Center.

The Krewe de Ark la Vie, or the Crew of Ark Life, is a Mardi Gras party that will celebrate the Salida lifestyle and Arkansas River with some traditional New Orleans flair on Saturday, Feb. 10. The event kicks off with a parade, or second line, leaving the SteamPlant at 7 p.m., traveling along the Arkansas River. Flambeaux torches, dancers and a jester will accompany the parade for authenticity. Along the parade route, there will be three scheduled stops at specific trees to bead-bomb. The production team bought 2,000 beads.

The second line will lead back to the SteamPlant ballroom to kick off the masquerade ball shenanigans. While everyone is invited to participate in the parade, the masquerade ball is just for adults.

The band for the ball will be Mo’Champipple and the Miso Horns. The Chaffee County band hasn’t played together in two years but members have been practicing in preparation of this event. At the end of the parade when the second line returns to the SteamPlant, it will play one song with Mo’Champipple.

Community members are invited to play horns or drums in the second line. A rehearsal for the second line will be held at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, in the Articipate band cave, also known as the Salida Community Center basement.

FLW Productions is comprised of artist Lindsay Sutton Stephens, dancer Andrea Mossman and musicians George Mossman and Trevor “Bones” Davis. Their plan is to produce three “locally grown, world-class events” per year. Their mission is to always use local musicians and artists, and to compensate them.

As artists, these four understand how hard it is to be appreciated and compensated for their talents. In small towns, artists are often asked for free work, Stephens explained. “We want to celebrate artists by getting them compensated.

“We’re bringing heart to Salida, bringing the community together. We want to keep these events community-driven, community-focused and different.”

Floats will be constructed to help transform the ballroom, and there will be a VIP section for the sponsors, including title sponsor Tenderfoot Health Collective. Andrea said, “Kat with THC is great at supporting musicians, and she supports our vision of supporting artists.”

Tickets are $30 per person and $50 per couple and can be purchased from Sutty’s Downtown Records and Arts and the SteamPlant box office. Stephens promises the price tag is worth it. “We’re going to give away a lot of swag.”

Because it is a masquerade ball, masks are part of the required “fun formal” dress code. There will also be a naming of the royal court based on costumes and voted on by everyone in attendance. Krista Jarvis and Andrea with Community Costumes are offering to lend costumes from their personal arsenal of costumes to ticket-holders for this event. You can find them on Facebook.

“Salida has never seen a Mardi Gras celebration of this caliber,” Stephens said.