Mardi Gras party celebrates spring colors

Face paint artist Ashley Ludovico adds a colorful flourish to a guest's makeup at the carousel museum’s Mardi Gras party last weekend.

Spring is in the air, and with the changing of the seasons, communities are gearing up a number of celebrations. While Fat Tuesday technically fell this week, the New England Carousel celebrated Mardi Gras this past Saturday, where more than 100 people donned the traditional red, green, purple, and gold of the celebration.

“It’s a very exciting, energy-filled event, and it’s one of my favorites,” said Morgan Urgo, executive director of the museum. “I’m excited—this is my first Mardi Gras as executive director—so I’m really excited about it.”

It’s hard not to be in awe of the New England Carousel Museum. After walking amongst classic carousel creations such as ornate horses or jewel encrusted sleighs, guests made their way to the second floor which houses the Museum of Fire History, as well as a large space that was converted into a New Orleans street front in honor of the celebration.

Urgo explained that this year was the museum’s 30th anniversary, as well as the 30th celebration of Mardi Gras held within their halls. The annual celebration serves as the museum’s largest fundraiser each year, and this year the hosts were anticipating raising about $10,000.

“That goes for general operations as well as our educational programs, and just general operating support, you know,” said Urgo. “We get a lot of support for programming, so these fundraisers really offset the general operations and the day to day.”

Betty “Mac” Paul, who runs the writers group run through the New England Carousel Museum, stepped out in her finest for an enjoyable evening of Mardi Gras-themed fun.

The museum offers a wide range of educational programs such as classes for homeschooled students, all of which pair art and crafting with some sort of history lesson. In some of the upcoming classes, students will learn about collage making and how to paint a landscape, amongst other topics. One of the supported programs, miniature carving with Bob Yorburg, will be held on Saturday, Apr. 18, where participants will be able to carve their own miniature Dentzel Carousel pig.

Once attendees had selected their share of Bear’s Smokehouse catered meal, they were able to have their face painted by local artist Ashley Ludovico and to experience a taste of New Orleans with two professional tarot readers. Guests were treated to raffle prizes such as a complimentary birthday party hosted at the museum. And not to be overlooked at a Southern-style shindig, there was an impressive spread of wines and bourbons, all part of a tasting experience sponsored by Maple End Package store of Bristol.

The New England Carousel Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. To learn more about the museum, visit, or contact the museum at (860) 585-5411.

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