According to the beliefs of many Christian faiths, this weekend marks the end of the Carnival season, that time when much celebration can be had before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Good Christians will make a list of indulgences they will give up for the somber weeks before Easter. And no, kids, Sister Mary Don’t Even Think of Fooling Her knows all your tricks. You cannot include “broccoli and any other green vegetable” on things to give up for Lent.
It doesn’t work that way. You’re supposed to give up things you enjoy, like chocolate, bubble gum and checking your social media feed every two minutes. Oh, that would be tough, wouldn’t it — going without the smart phone binky for six weeks. You know what Boomers and Gen X call going without smart phones? “The 20th century.”
In some parts of the world, Carnival is a big deal. Don’t expect to find any hotel rooms next week in New Orleans, for example. Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday. We had our own Winter Carnival here in Homer recently, but trust the Betster on this. Homer Carnival is to Mardi Gras as country club cocktails are to a frat party.
The closest Homer comes to Mardi Gras is the Krewe of Gambrinus, our local version started by people who might once or twice actually have been to New Orleans in late winter. Mardi Gras has all these clubs, and they decorate big floats, dress up in wild clothes, form bands, dance and otherwise enjoy life to its excesses. Beads are involved. There’s something to do with a baby hidden in a cake. People get crowned. Alcohol is believed to be involved. The idea is to overindulge and eat up all that to-be-forbidden food so as to not be tempted during Lent.
Faithful or not, there’s lots to celebrate at this time of year. Our daylight hours grow steadily longer, with the sun rising before 8:30 a.m. now and the light running almost 10 hours. We haven’t seen temperatures in the single digits since early February. And even though the usual trolls have tried to stir up trouble on social media, so far we’ve been spared a big February controversy.
So put on the green, purple and gold, be joyous and celebrate life here, maybe with these Best Bets:
BEST THINK DEEPER BET: The next installment of the DeStig Cinema Series is a showing of “Girl, Interrupted” at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Homer Theatre. This four-movie series looks at wellness through the eyes of pop culture. Learn how you can help remove the artificial barriers created by misunderstanding, stigma and fear. The evening will start with a short presentation, followed by a screening of the movie.
BEST LIKE A GIRL BET: Join Tela O’Donnell Bacher as she shares stories, photos, and her experience from her State Department sanctioned sports diplomacy mission in Pakistan, during a presentation from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Homer Public Library. Representing the national nonprofit, Wrestle Like A Girl, Tela participated in a cultural exchange exploring how sport is used as a tool to address the topic of Gender Based Violence.
Tela is a Homer-grown Olympic wrestler. She started wrestling at Homer Middle School after winning a fight against the local school board for girls to compete. Tela went on to place at the Alaskan High School Wrestling State Championships, and at that time, was only the 2nd female in Alaskan history to do so. She is a 2004 Olympian, 2003 U.S. National Champion, and a three-time Team USA National Team Member. Tela lives in Homer with her husband and their three children.
Wrestle Like a Girl was founded in 2016 by Sally Roberts, a two time world bronze medalist in women’s wrestling. The mission of Wrestle Like a Girl is to empower girls and women through the sport of wrestling to become leaders in life. They are currently working on planning their 2020 camps, including a possible camp in Saudi Arabia.
BEST STUFF YOUR FACE BET: Head on out to the Chili Cook Off for the Homer Volunteer Fire Department Members Association from 5-7 p.m. Friday at Grace Ridge Brewery. This is an opportunity to meet the volunteers who serve our community. This is a nonprofit organization to support the volunteer members, the people who help keep our community safe. There will be a variety of chili and sides to enjoy, and those who attend are encouraged to vote on their favorite.
BEST VET BET: Do you like art? Do you have a veteran in your life or know one well? These two things collide at the 907 Vets Artistic Endeavors event from 6-8 p.m. Friday at Skiff Chick. Join other veterans, family members and friends to create art work to enter the Diffability Art Show. Pay $25 dollars for materials, space, and any wanted instruction to create art with other veterans. Finished art pieces will be entered in the Homer Council of the Arts Diffability Art Show. All pieces will be hung and presented at a First Friday art show on March 6. Proceeds from sold pieces will be split three ways between the artist, Homer Council on the Arts and the TRAILS program.
BEST WILDERNESS BET: Come celebrate the recent transfer of more than 600 acres to the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies by Nina Faust and the late Ed Bailey at the Gateway to the Ridge Celebration from 5-8 p.m. Friday at Alice’s Champagne Palace. There will be music, cake, games and prizes. Celebrate the Inspiration Ridge Preserve for wildlife and the community, in partnership with Kachemak Heritage Land Trust.
BEST BUNNELL BET: The next installment in the Parlor In The Round concert series is coming up at 7 p.m. Friday at Bunnell Street Arts Center with Host Kevin Worell. This concert season Alaskans will gather at Parlor In The Round. Borrowing from the guitar pull tradition of porches and campfires, songwriters from all walks of Alaska life (and some beyond) will trade songs and stories as they are inspired by each other. After the intermission, tradition is cast aside as the musicians dive into collaborations, jocular inventions and premeditated musings all based on written submissions from the audience. Introducing Candice Ivory, Orion Donicht and Tyler Munns. This event costs $25-$35.