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14 San Diego Uptown News | March 4-17, 2011


Patrick noted the decade-old Mardi Gras is distinctive befit- ting its host community’s style. “Hillcrest is a safe haven where we celebrate diversity,” he

said. “You can come as you are and celebrate.” “It’s one of the strengths in this community, our ability to

grow sustainably with the community,” Lisa Weir noted, mar- keting and communications program manager of HBA, the community’s Business Improvement District. Hillcrest Mardi Gras is planned and executed each year by

a Volunteer Committee including: Tom Abbas (Abbas Jenson & Cundari Certified Public Accountants) , Danny Becht (Volun- teer), Stampp Corbin (San Diego LGBT Weekly), Shawn Dool- ey (Ascent Real Estate), Jay Jones (Rage Monthly), Benjamin Nicholls (HBA), Chris Patrick (Urban Mo’s), Russell Poncik (JRE | Media), Matt Ramon (Urban Mo’s), Chris Shaw (Urban Mo’s), Tootie (LIPS), and Weir (HBA). “It’s a year-long process to secure sponsorships and

come up with creative elements for the event,” said Weir about event planning. “It is such a staple in this community that planning is sort of always happening.” Weir noted the event continues to grow in stature. “It’s changed over time in size and magnitude,” she said.

“We now have a grand stage so we’re able to have great lineups year-in and year-out with performing artists and bands, a drag queen, a huge dance tent and bigger-and-better, party-oriented features like confetti: It’s just a huge street party. The energy we’re able to throw off … it’s the best Mardi Gras party in San Diego.”

And unlike similar Fat Tuesday parties elsewhere around

the U.S., Weir pointed out, “This event directly benefits the community.”

The “feast before the fast,” Mardi Gras is sponsored by the

Greater San Diego Business Association (GSDBA), the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, through its Charitable

see Mardi Gras, page 15

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