By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The American Banjo Museum will bring Bourbon Street and the spirit of the French Quarter to Oklahoma City with its fifth annual Krewe de Banjo Mardi Gras Party on Saturday, February 22 from 6 – 9 p.m. Festivities reminiscent of an evening at Mardi Gras in New Orleans will be on tap at 9 E. Sheridan in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown District.
The event will feature music by Jambalaya Jass Band. Known throughout Oklahoma for performing New Orleans Jazz, the Jambalaya Jass Band is under the leadership of vocalist and trombonist Steve Ham.
In addition to an evening of jazz, guests will enjoy New Orleans cuisine including lobster bisque, red beans & rice, Cajun shrimp fondue, sausage & chicken jambalaya, garlic flat bread, and caramel praline cheesecake. There will be a cash bar, wine pull and other Mardi Gras themed treats.
“Each year we look forward to this amazing event,” said Johnny Baier, executive director, American Banjo Museum. “With great food, fantastic jazz music, and people having a wonderful time, it will be like a little piece of the French Quarter right here in Oklahoma City.”
Originally located in Guthrie, Oklahoma, the ABM was founded in 1998 as a nonprofit organization by Midwest City attorney, Brady Hunt and Indiana industrialist, Jack Canine. It was first named The National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame Museum.
The American Banjo Museum is home to the largest collection of banjos on public display in the world. The museum includes a special gallery featuring a large collection of Gibson Mastertone banjos manufactured during the 1920s and 30s, including a rare, pre-war Gibson five-string banjo valued at more than $175,000.
The second floor contains the museum’s centerpiece collection of more than 200 four-string banjos from the Jazz Era.
“Originally the Museum was founded by and primarily for enthusiasts and players of the four-string banjo, the predominate stringed instrument associated with the jazz age of the 1920s and early 30s,” said Baier.
“There are always a lot of interesting things going on here,” said Baier. “Based on the fact that most people aren’t banjo players and can’t possibly anticipate what they’re going to see when they get here. We’ve been so fortunate to be able to create such a nice and modern presentation of around 400 banjos. It’s kind of surprising to a lot of folks.”
Proceeds from this special benefit event go to support the American Banjo Museum.
Tickets for the Krewe de Banjo Mardi Gras are $25 for museum members and $30 for non-members. Seating is limited. Tickets are available online or by calling 405-604-2793.
Regular museum hours are Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday Noon – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays. Admission to the museum and for the George Peabody event is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors (+55), military and students; children (5-17) $4, and children (under 5) are free.
For more information, visit americanbanjomuseum.com.