In medieval times during the 16th and 17th centuries, the French celebrated “Boeuf Gras” (fatted calf), which was a celebration of the last meal to be eaten before the beginning of the Lenten fast on the Christian calendar. On Monday, March 2, 1699, French Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville landed just south of what would become the city of New Orleans. Upon his arrival, the crew realized that it was the eve of Boeuf Gras, and therefore named the locale “Pointe du Mardi Gras.” In 1702 Bienville also established a settlement that would later be known as Mobile Alabama. It was there that the first Mardi Gras (fat Tuesday) in America was celebrated in 1703. Almost two decades later, Bienville founded the settlement of New Orleans in 1718, but it wasn’t until the 1730s that Mardi Gras was openly celebrated in the Crescent City. Since then, Mardi Gras celebrations have sprung up throughout America and around the world – including here in the great city of Cincinnati beginning in 1945.
Annual Cincinnati Mardi Gras
In 2010, The STAR Chapter Foundation began proudly hosting the Annual Mardi Gras Celebration each February, during which we celebrate the selection of our Rising Star Scholars and “party with a purpose” to raise money for our future STARS. The event brings together over one thousand patrons from all over the country to participate in a week of activities and culminates in a Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday evening. This themed experience is the foundation’s signature event and serves as the primary fundraiser to support our mission to provide scholarships, and to support our Rising STARS Scholarship program. Due to the far-reaching influence of the foundation’s members, the event also serves as a networking venue for Black entrepreneurs, educators, and professionals in the Greater Cincinnati region.
Every year we seek to provide a unique experience for our sponsors and patrons, to thank them for partnering with us during this important journey. The adage, “A rising tide lifts all boats” is exemplified in our efforts to bring together people of diverse backgrounds and professions, to accomplish the goal of improving the economic, physical, and sociopolitical heath of the Black and Brown community in the Tri-State region. If you have not yet committed to doing so, we humbly ask that you consider joining us during our Mardi Gras celebration!.