Fat Tuesday Celebration in Fresno

February 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The beads are flying in New Orleans, where thousands have gathered for "Fat Tuesday".It's the last day of carnival, which includes 12 days of parades and parties. Mardi Gras is also the last day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent.

As many as 1,100 hundred police officers, state troopers, and national guardsmen have been patrolling the parade routes since Mardi Gras began.

Security is also a concern at Fresno's Tower District Mardi Gras celebration.

Police will be out in force, looking to keep everyone safe but targeting one group in particular.

More than 5,000 people will be walking the streets and packing restaurants in Fresno's Tower District tonight for Fat Tuesday.

Brandon Lynch is looking forward to a little crazy-fun. "I am a new resident to Fresno and I want to get a feel for the Tower District and downtown is where I live... So trying to get more involved with the community really."

Homemade gumbo and jambalaya are on the menu at the Sequoia Brewing Company. Scott Kendall, Sequoia Brewing Company, says "We got some great Cajun specialties tonight we have some great drink specials and we have a band coming in called Head Rush."

Kendall is expecting a big crowd and is glad police will be out keeping the peace. "It's a safe feeling when you know you have those police here and they've got everything under control," says Kendall.

Last year a police chase through the Tower ended with the death of the suspect, and four people wounded, including three officers. Police say the incident was not related to Mardi Gras.

Still, 100 officers will patrol the Tower Tuesday night including Fresno's gang unit.

Captain Dennis Bridges, Fresno Police Department, says "This year we will have the gang units out there specifically looking for gang members-- so it's not going to be a gang friendly place to be."

Captain bridges also has a warning for minors: the 10 pm curfew will be strictly enforced. "I think they think we're crying wolf until 10 o'clock when the bus rolls down and kids start getting loaded on so really don't be surprised and just go home before 10 o'clock," says Captain Bridges.

All parties at the Tower will be held indoors.


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