COA to host combined lunch for Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day

CASSOPOLIS — Older adults looking for a fun way to celebrate their sweethearts will have a chance to ring in the day of love with a twist, as the Cass County Council on Aging will host a dual-themed party.

The COA will host a Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras party from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the Lowe Center, 60525 Decatur Road, Cassopolis. The event is open to senior citizens and the general public.

The event will feature aspects of both holidays, and will cost $5 per person, regardless of age.

Because Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras are one day apart, the COA has decided to blend the celebrations.

“We don’t usually combine events,” said event organizer Sandi Hoger. “We’ve had Mardis Gras, and we’ve had Valentine’s Day parties before — all the time. This year, it’s going to be both.”

The menu will feature classic New Orleans dishes such as shrimp and chicken etouffee, garlic and cheddar grits, grape salad, cornbread and king cake, a colorful French bread dessert with sugar on top that is commonly served on Mardi Gras. A senior meal will also be available, which will be pork cutlets and mashed potatoes.

People are also welcome to come dressed for the event. Hoger says that guest could wear bright red and hearts for Valentine’s Day. As for Mardi Gras, guest will be given masquerade masks that are optional to wear.

“Of course, we will have music for Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day,” Hoger said. “We have some games we will be playing with [our guests], and we’ll have beads and coins and those type of things.”

The music will consist of jazz and love songs. The COA will also create several centerpieces for the occasion that will fit either theme, and which will be filled with candy. As usual, centerpieces will be given away.

The COA is an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of its members, and the organization has found that hosting events for holidays such as Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day party are a great way to accomplish its mission, Hoger said.

“That’s what we do,” she said. “We are the Council on Aging. We have a big senior center where many seniors come in, and they like to have fun, and we like to have fun. It’s something for them to do.”

This is why they try to have events and parties as frequently as possible, Hoger said.

“Sometimes we have more than one a month,” she said. “We have things like Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, we just did a luau in January, then we will do St. Patrick’s Day and, of course, Easter.”

The dual-themed party will not be taking place at the COA’s Front Street Crossing in Dowagiac location. That facility will host a Valentine’s Day-only party at noon the following day, Feb. 14. The public is invited to attend both.

“All of the regular people [who] come to the COA [will be there], and anyone who wants to party,” Hoger said.

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