Saturday evening, the aroma of crawfish wafted through the air and medleys of live music echoed in the streets of downtown Sherman. These, along with ample purple, green and gold decorations and Cajun flare characterized the first-ever Red River Mardi Gras and Jazz Festival.
The Downtown Sherman Preservation and Restoration organization coordinated the festival. The organization aims to put on four to five events per year and ultimately bring visitors and business to downtown Sherman.
“This is unlike any other event we’ve done,” said DSP&R Board Member Tom Kyle “We hope (the festival) brings Sherman visibility, brings in visitors and creates excitement.”
For a $10 wrist band visitors could experience the fun, which spanned two blocks. Vendors sold items like cookies, pecan pralines, jewelry and art. There was an abundance of food, including the expected crawfish and gumbo.
Sherman residents Colton Horn and Cody Bramlett said they came out, in part, for the hurricane mixed drinks. Even a magician roamed the festival grounds performing up-close tricks with a deck of cards. Magician and Sherman native Rudy Reynoso said the event was the perfect venue for his tricks.
Of course, one of the main attractions was the live music. Local bands played from the beginning to the end of the festival on four different stages, one of which was at the Sherman Jazz Museum. Museum owner Bill Collins said he was thrilled when he heard a jazz festival would be taking place in Sherman.
“The museum fits in perfectly with this Mardi Gras and Jazz Festival,” Collins said. “I hope that this is the first of many, and we can just go forward and make it bigger every year as we go on. … It could put Sherman on the map.”
Attendees included families pushing strollers, 20-somethings and elderly couples. Kyle estimated that 800 to 1,000 people were in attendance.
Saturday’s festivities wrapped up around 11 p.m. The DSP&R hopes to expand the festival to be a three-day affair starting next year, Kyle said. The first two nights will be more adult-oriented, while Sunday will be aimed at families. Kyle said the DSP&R hopes the Red River Mardi Gras and Jazz Festival will be a Sherman tradition for years to come.