Vincennes’ Festival du Mardi Gras Keeping Alive Endangered Local Traditions

Vincennes, Indiana – January 17, 2012 – First Families, the heritage education outreach of Grouseland Foundation, is teaming up with the The Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society to expand the 6th Annual Vincennes Festival du Mardi Gras, to a two-night event on Friday, February 17, and Saturday, February 18, 2012.  Both evening events will be hosted at The Fortnightly Club, 421 S. Sixth Street, Vincennes.

Vincennes Mardi Gras begins Friday, February 17, at 6:30 PM, with a presentation sponsored by First Families featuring Dennis Stroughmatt and his ensemble, L’Esprit Creole.  Stroughmatt, a traditional fiddler and folklorist, preserves the French Creole songs and culture of “Upper Louisiana,” or the Pays des Illinois, which is a unique cultural and linguistic group of people, who span from Vincennes and the Wabash Valley through southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri.

Stroughmatt’s presentation is designed to re-introduce new generations of Vincennois to festive traditions and music that are integral to Vincennes’ historically French Creole heritage, where many descendants still live.  Traditional folk dancing demonstrations will also be a part of Friday’s program.  Light refreshments will be served.

Festival du Mardi Gras, the annual celebration hosted by the Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society, continues on Saturday, February 18, with featured performers Paul Gregoire and Roux du Bayou, playing the best in Cajun, Zydeco and Swamp Pop music.  Authentic cuisine and desserts will be served from 5:00 PM.  Dance lessons in Cajun swing, two-step and waltz will also be offered prior to the band performance, which will run from 6:00 – 10:00 PM.  The evening will also include a special appearance by Mary Laue, singing selections from French Folk Songs of Old Vincennes.  Beer and wine will be available for sale.

Tickets are $10 per event or $15 for both events, and children under 12 are free.  Tickets can be purchased at the following Vincennes locations: Knox County Public Library (502 N. 7th Street); Knox County Chamber of Commerce (316 Main Street); Knox County Convention and Visitors Bureau (779 S. 6th Street); Something Special (423 Main Street); Valley Cash and Carry (310 S. 4th Street) and at Grouseland (3 W. Scott Street).  Tickets can be purchased by phone during normal business hours at (812) 882-2096; (800) 886-6443; or by email at Grouseland@sbcglobal.netTickets can also be purchased at the door of each event.

Come and learn, participate, celebrate and keep alive the traditions of Old Vincennes, Indiana’s First City.

For questions and media interviews please contact Shirley S. Rose, First Families Chairperson, (812) 882-5162; Dan Sarell, Executive Director, Grouseland Foundation, (812) 882-2096, or; or Denise Chapin, Mardi Gras Chairperson, Vincennes Historical and Antiquarian Society, at  For information about overnight accommodations, contact (800) 886-6443.

Published in: on January 17, 2012 at 5:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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