Why not step into a local tradition June 30th through July 4th? Journey down to Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park for fireworks, a patriotic parade, Midway Rides and more as you experience a 'Slice of Americana' seventy years in the making. Fairport Harbor's Mardi Gras is more than a few days of gala festivities, parades, queens, rides and games. According to Webster's definition it is "unique" and one of a "kind". Fairport's Mardi Gras definitely has met that criteria and then some.
The first Mardi Gras was held July 4, 1939 and was an outgrowth of the 1938 Street Party to celebrate the paving of Chestnut Street. Extremely well received by the community, residents began a campaign for a second event soon thereafter. Mayor John O. Rendrick embraced the residents wishes and in 1941 a Fairport tradition began. The village was decked out in special decorations, competitions were held throughout the day, USCG and nautical themed activities were featured, and a parade was held that evening. An estimated 10,000 Lake County residents attended the event. What has made the Mardi Gras unique and one of a kind are the two key elements that still continue thru today. First, it has been and remains a strictly local event. A village committee comprised of Fairport residents plan the annual parade theme, five day event schedule, and day to day organization in its entirety. Second is the unique aspect of allocating proceeds to projects and causes beneficial to the village at large. The local schools, the lighthouse historical society, VFW, Boy Scouts, fire and police departments are just a handful of the organizations that have benefited from the generosity of the Fairport Mardi Gras Committee.
The 2011 Mardi Gras kicks off with a parade not to be missed on Thursday, June 30th at 7pm. Residents begin securing spots on the parade path in the early afternoon. Visitors should arrive beforehand to secure their prime viewing location. A 5K race is scheduled for 9am on July 2nd. Midway Rides, a Beer Garden (sponsored by the Painesville Area Chamber of Commerce), musical performances, a kid's day, lighthouse tours (noon-7pm), the FHPA boat launch, and a Lake Metroparks beach that is northeastern Ohio's best kept secret await all visitors through July 4th.
Visit www.fairportmardigras.vpweb.com for more detailed information.