I Bet You Didn’t Know Mardi Gras Is Celebrated In NJ Every August
There is a community nestled in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey with a rich history. The Medford Lakes Colony is located just outside the Pinelands National Reserve.
I never knew this neighborhood existed until this summer when a friend of mine moved to Medford Lakes.
Shout out to Donna and Steve!
I have since learned the Medford Lakes was first home to the Lenni-Lenape tribe of Native Americans hundreds of years ago. Those who settled there since have also continued to build the traditional log-cabin-style homes.
A tradition that also follows the Colony’s original plans.
One of the main events the community puts on every year is Canoe Carnival. What began in 1931, Canoe Carnival is a “week-long” celebration that is typically scheduled for the first week in August.
It begins with a pageant that crowns Miss and Mr. Medford Lakes. Then the Canoe Carnival Ball takes place, followed by Mardi Gras Night.
Earlier in the day, prior to sunset, residents and visitors are encouraged to mark their spot at Lower Aetna Lake. This is a main viewing area for the boat parade, The Main Event later that evening.
Kayakers and boaters alike are then seen in mass numbers paddling up and down the lake to witness each lakefront property owner getting their Mardi gras style floatation ready for the competition.
Yes, it’s a competition. Each contestant is competing for prizes in a variety of divisions. There is also a Grand Prize awarded. It’s really a sight to see.
Like you, I missed the event this year, but plan on attending next August.
So let’s live vicarious through the pictures.