Dash for the Beads, the first of several Mardi Gras weekend events in Oak Cliff, begins and ends in Kidd Springs Park this year, rather than in the Bishop Arts District.
Gay attorney Chad West, co-founder and co-chair of the event along with David Sassano, said this year’s route will include the new Coombs Creek Trail and run through East Kessler Park. The first phase of the trail that runs along Interstate 30 in Kessler Park opened in 2011.
“We want to show off a different part of the neighborhood this year,” West said.
Proceeds from the run benefit Fido Oak Cliff, which aims to open Oak Cliff’s first dog park, likely in Kidd Springs Park.
The events begin and end at the Cedar Hill Avenue and 5th Street entrance to the park. A 1-mile walk begins at 9:30 a.m. The 5K Dash for the Beads begins at 10.
An awards ceremony, street party and costume contest begin at 11:30 a.m.
After the race, West said, the after-party will be in Bishop Arts District. He said that Bishop Arts merchants will be participating by offering a number of specials and promotions. He expected many of them to be at the park encouraging people to head over to the shopping and restaurant district that is about 10 blocks away.
More than 1,500 adults, children and dogs have registered to participate.
Amy Cowan, who chairs the weekend of Mardi Gras events, said there’s plenty of street parking around the park, as well as some parking at the recreation center in the park.
Ocarnivale Masquerade Ball takes place that night at the Kessler Theater. Live New Orleans-style swing music will be provided by Club Wood and the Inner City All Stars. Festive attire is encouraged with prizes given for best dressed.
On Feb. 10, the Mardi Gras party begins in Bishop Arts at noon and continues through the afternoon. Because of the crowds last year, the area for the beer garden and crawfish boil will be expanded.
Public parking is available at Methodist Hospital for the afternoon and pedicabs will run up and down Bishop Street between the hospital and Bishop Arts.
Cowan said the Mardi Gras parade will come down Davis Street and wind through Bishop Arts beginning at 4 p.m. She said line-up for the parade will be along West 7th Street at Polk Street. Most of the 60 entries in the parade will be throwing beads to the crowd.
On-site registration on Feb. 9 is $35 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in Kidd Springs Park. Commemorative cups will be available for a $5 suggested donation and the cups can be used at the Rahr Brewery tent. More information at MardiGrasOakCliff.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 8, 2013.