KILLIAN — Members of the Krewe of Tickfaw filled Tin Lizzie’s, for many years the principal social gathering place on the Tickfaw River, for an evening of fun, food, fellowship and dancing Saturday at the annual Mardi Gras Ball.

About 200 revelers gathered for the toast to the Mardi Gras season despite intermittent showers that forced cancellation of a planned night boat parade. Highlight of the ball was recognition of the krewe’s King Jimmy Gregory, Queen Alexa Ott and Grand Marshal Kimberly Hidalgo. Christina Pierce, organizer of the parade and ball for the Krewe of Tickfaw, said this year’s ball was one of the most successful ever.

Pierce said the Krewe of Tickfaw Ball serves not only as a special social event for residents of the area and their guests but is also a fundraiser. This year, proceeds from the event will be donated to the Tangi Food Pantry.

“We usually make a donation to a nonprofit agency that is most in need for that year, and this year we chose the Tangi Food Pantry because of their constant need for food and funds to feed the many that they serve on a regular basis,” Pierce said.

She said the Krewe of Tickfaw Mardi Gras Ball has become a popular event for residents of the area and the many owners of camps and second homes along the Tickfaw River.

“We are welcoming new residents all the time,” she said. “I understand that a new set of condominiums are going up in the area, which will add more residents to the Killian area. This is a wonderful place to live and to maintain a second home. The many activities along the Tickfaw River are always popular, especially during the summer months. Our Mardi Gras ball gives us a chance to celebrate the privilege of being part of the Tickfaw River community.” 

Gregory, owner of the Barbecue Station in Independence and a catering business, said he is a “full-time resident of Independence and a part-time resident of the Tickfaw River.”

Of his being chosen as king of this year’s ball, he said: “It’s quite a privilege to be chosen as king. I love the Tickfaw River, and I really enjoy being friends with all the great people who live along the river and enjoy the many great things life here has to offer. I have a camp here, and I really enjoy the time I get to spend on the river. At the same time, I think it’s an honor to participate in raising funds for the charities that we support.”

Pierce said plans have been completed for the Krewe of Tickfaw’s Mardi Gras Boat Parade on Saturday. The parade begins at 2 p.m. at Dendinger Road and will travel down the river passing in front of Tin Lizzy’s and continuing to the Swamp Road, then head back upriver to pass Boopalus Bar and on to the Warsaw Landing Lounge before ending back downriver at Boopalus Bar, where the parade winners will be announced. Entry in the boat parade is $30.

The Krewe of Tickfaw Mardi Gras Boat Parade was started by the late Charlie Albert, who managed a marina on the river. After Albert’s passing, interest in the parade waned until its revival eight years ago.

“After we revived the parade, it grew in popularity and now it is enjoyed by many every year,” Pierce said.

As of last week, 32 boats had been entered in the parade. Pierce said more entries were expected.

“We invite everyone to come out and enjoy our boat parade, which is something different from a regular Mardi Gras parade,” she said. “Those who enter the parade take the time to decorate their boats for the occasion and yes, they do have throws for the parade viewers. It’s always a fun event.” 

She explained that visitors who do not have a camp or special area from which to watch the parade are welcome to view the procession from Boopalus, Tin Lizzie’s or the Warsaw Marina. She said children will be allowed to enter the bar area of all three establishments until the parade’s conclusion.