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Are you ready to party? Norwich set for Rio-style Mardi Gras celebration

A woman dances on top of a float during the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school parade at the Sambodrome during carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

A woman dances on top of a float during the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school parade at the Sambodrome during carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

Rio De Janeiro in Brazil and New Orleans in the US already have it – and Norwich could be next.

Norwich Mardi Gras is a new event for the city – set up by 17 volunteers from the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans) community – and aimed at the whole community.

The aim is to create an annual Mardi-style event for the city and beyond with the same flamboyance and spectacle associated with the carnival around the world – and with Norwich’s annual Gay Pride event. Having been given the go-ahead by Norwich City Council, the first Norwich Mardi Gras is set to take place at Earlham Park in September 2013.

The community group behind the plans is looking to engage with local companies for sponsorship and also for assistance with its fundraising events prior to the big day.

Leon Potter, from the Norwich Mardi Gras team, said: “LGBT events, and Mardi Gras, have always been fun and colourful and we’re hoping to bring these elements to Norwich and include all members of the community.

“Planned as a party in the park with a funfair, stages featuring local bands and cabaret artists along with market stalls, a dance tent, refreshments, dance troops and street-style entertainment – the emphasis being on a fun day and evening for all.”

The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to France and on to New Orleans in Louisiana.

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

Popular practices associated with Mardi Gras include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sport competitions and parades.

The group’s first fundraising event is a Vegas-style casino fun night at the Holiday Inn Norwich Airport on Friday, November 9.

Tickets, priced £17.50 per person, include some start-up gaming chips along with a hot and cold buffet. There will also be prizes to win on the night.

Tickets can be bought online at www.norwichmardigras.co.uk or at two Norwich pubs, The Murderers in Timberhill and the Catherine Wheel in St Augustine’s Street.

For more details like the Facebook page facebook.com/norwichmardigras or see the website www.norwichmardigras.co.uk

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