by Robert Bell
SOUTH MAIN MARDI GRAS
Noon. SoMa. Free.
So if you're reading this, odds are better than OK that you won't be in The Big Easy for Mardi Gras this year. (If you are going to be there, good for you. Have fun, get a Po' Boy at Parkway, breakfast at Mother's and bring some Advil.)
For the rest of us, there are still options to be had for Mardi Gras revelry, including the Krewe of Barkus Parade starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Argenta, and there's this one on the other side of the river, the South Main Mardi Gras celebration.
The parade starts at noon at 24th and Main streets, with beads and music and good times. Be sure to come by Bernice Garden at 12:30, where judging will begin for the first Root Cafe/Arkansas Times Beard-Growing Contest. There's gonna be more hirsute faces than you can shake a razor at, all vying for the win in several categories, including "Most Original" and "Best Abraham Lincoln," among others.
Though there isn't a category for it, I think there should be some acknowledgment of the "Totally Gnarliest" beard. The judges are KARK anchor Jessica Dean, "Arkansas Cooks" host Mary Twedt and food columnist and blogger Rex Nelson; Nathanael Wills is going to emcee this shindig. Each winner (provided that winner is 21 or older) will receive an engraved flask full of whisky and an individual prize that will vary for each category.
There will also be live music courtesy of Mark Currey and Nathaniel Greer. Our own Jeff Borg is in the contest (his beard is dang near as good as this one, btw), so while we're completely impartial and all that, we'd like to wish him luck.