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Senses celebrates ‘Fat Thursday’

Posted: February 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Vocalist Tom “Silky” Silcott and tuba player David “Two Boots” Silverman of Vaud and the Villains jam at the Senses Mardi Gras celebration in Newhall Thursday night.

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Theaters, restaurants, a winery and local merchants threw open their doors to saints and sinners alike as an estimated 1,000 people converged on Main Street for Mardi Gras event in downtown Newhall Thursday night for the city’s monthly Senses on Main Street event.

While it isn’t precisely the infamous Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the transformation on Main Street captured the essence of the street celebration.

The event, big on atmosphere, included street lighting, French Quarter inspired décor, colored beads thrown to crowd members from staged upper floor balconies of buildings and a stilt walker towering above those lining the street.

With a vintage New Orleans orchestra and cabaret show as a backdrop, local residents sat at tables lining the street while others took to the outdoor dance floor with blended Big Easy sounds of jazz, gospel, Cajun, and procession music. Many mingled among the Fat Tuesday inspired food trucks.

Despite the lower temperatures, only one degree different than the real New Orleans, local crowds walked up and down Main Street in Old Town Newhall while the 19-piece 1930s New Orleans orchestra and cabaret show, Vaud and the Villains, played center stage at Market Street.

But perhaps the biggest draw of the night is for local merchants. The city’s monthly Senses event, held on the third Thursday of each month, attracts old and new customers alike who like shopping in the rejuvenated business district surrounded by a nightlife party atmosphere.

“The event draws people in to the store in two ways,” said Jim Bell, co-owner of the Outwest retail store on Main Street. “It brings the regular customers down to shop; it’s a night out for them. And new people come in to the store.”

The event works very well the local businesses, Bell said. The city does a tremendous amount of work putting the events together. Madison Swartz of Fresh Boutique agrees saying the vibe and the synergy of all the businesses working together to promote the event is good for business.

“It’s extremely good for business,” Swartz said. “It keeps in me in business and makes a huge difference that the city and Old Town Newhall come together and create such an awesome atmosphere.”

Families and people, young and old, crowded the stores and restaurants while soaking in the Mardi Gras New Orleans-inspired ambience of the area.

“Senses on Main Street is a great event down here,” Nate Hasper, co-owner of Puchella Winery, said standing in a packed wine-tasting room. “It introduces new patrons to us.”

Since its first event in June 2010, Senses on Main Street has experienced many accomplishments, said Heather Leuning, an administrative analyst with the city of Santa Clarita.

“The event has drawn more than 12,000 people to the area, introduced new audiences to its restaurants, theaters and shops, and established Old Town Newhall as a growing hottest spot in Santa Clarita,” Leuning said.

For more event updates visit SensesOnMain.com. 

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