From OUR TURN TO DANCE - a book written by Dave Ruffner
THE FIRST FRESNO MARDI GRAS - Origins of the FRESNO DIXIELAND SOCIETY
In the winter of 1984, the band landed more Saturday night gigs at the Green Lantern Restaurant. One of the most memorable gigs was the Mardi Gras style celebration held on February 4 1984. The January 1984 edition of Central California Traditional Jazz Society Journal advertises, “Feb.4. Dixieland Mardi Gras at Green Lantern, Butler and Chestnut, 9 p.m. ‘till 1 a.m. Blue Street Jazz, no cover charge. Free gumbo.” This all-out party at the Green Lantern included an impromptu Mardi Gras parade that spilled into the parking lot and included a march through the nearby Round Table Pizza Parlor. This spontaneous celebration would give participants and local jazz supporters the impetus to later establish the Fresno Dixieland Society. The March 1984 edition of CCTJS Journal reported that maybe more than 150 jazzers showed up to the event and that Ida Helmick and Jimmy Baker were first and second in the costume contest.