Maffra Mardi Gras promises to be as big and exciting as ever

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye at the Mardi Gras launch earlier this month. Photo: Contributed

THE Rotary Club of Maffra Mardi Gras is a family-oriented, alcohol-free event, rising from the medieval tradition of feasting before Lent.

The term Mardi Gras literally means ‘Fat Tuesday’ and refers to eating fatty foods to put on weight before fasting for 40 days. The tradition developed into a festive parade and continues still in many towns in Europe and South America.

This year’s Mardi Gras has the theme of ‘OUTER SPACE’ and will take place in the main street of Maffra, Johnson Street, from 4pm to 8pm on Saturday, March 16. The street will be closed off for the afternoon and evening. From 4pm there will be musical entertainment, food and craft stalls and lots of kid’s activities. This year, there will be a little train and jumping castles, magic workshops and arcade games. The Free Kids Corner is back, behind Southern Rural Water, with face painting, a petting zoo and floor games. There are lots of food stalls, including favourites such as Big Bear Donuts, the Travelling Squid, Slinky Spuds and the Berry Dairy.

Floats, walking groups and vehicles are welcome to join in the parade, but please register your interest and send in completed forms ahead of the event. This enables the MC to read out the information as the parade passes the main stage. For the forms, contact maffrasecretary@rotary9820.org.au

The Community Bank, Maffra and District, has again been extremely generous with cash prizes for the floats and walking groups that best embody the theme of outer space. They are offering $3000 for the overall best float, with second and third prizes, and $1000 for the best school float, with second and third prizes. Also on offer are the Joan Laws and Liz Shepherd Trophies, and the Arthur Watts Business Trophy.

The club is also very grateful for sponsorship from the Wellington Shire Council, as well as many local businesses. See the Maffra Mardi Gras Facebook page for a full list.

The presentation to the two Fundraising Entrants, from the Maffra Cricket and Maffra Football-Netball Clubs, will take place on the main stage in the street after the parade, at about 7.30pm. The winning floats will also receive their awards.

The 2024 Mardi Gras promises to be as big and exciting as last year’s, so come along and be part of the fun! There is no entry fee, it’s a community event run for the Wellington Shire community by the Rotary Club of Maffra. Dress up in your stars or space suits, there will again be spot prizes of vouchers for the best costumes.