Tresetti's 19th annual Fat Tuesday party in downtown Modesto may be the most popular yet. Ticket sales are way up for the New Orleans-inspired celebration, said organizers Mitch Maisetti and Chris Ricci.
Up to 2,500 people are expected to let the good times roll tonight on 11th Street between I and J streets. The festivities will include headliner performances by Los Banos country/hip-hop band Moonshine Bandits and Santa Cruz disco sensation Dancetronauts, along with Cajun food and lots of colorful beads.
"I enjoy that it's a mixture of culture and religion together," Maisetti said about why he loves Fat Tuesday. "It's a way for people to purge themselves and get ready for Lent."
Also known as Mardi Gras and Carnival, celebrations are held all over the world on the Tuesday before the Christian observance of Lent, 40 days of fasting and penitence leading up to Easter.
Moonshine Bandits, known for their scantily clad female backup dancers and party-starting songs, have played Modesto's Fat Tuesday party before, but they have never been more successful than now. The group's song "Whiskey and Women" recently was featured on the MTV reality series "Buckwild," about young adults in West Virginia. Their video to "My Kind of Country" has aired on country music channel CMT.
Dancetronauts, which features astronauts dancing on spaceships with flashing lights and shooting flames, was the hit of the X-Fest music festival in downtown Modesto last summer. The act came out of Burning Man, the annual alternative festival of art and music in the Nevada desert.
Opening bands are Third Party, Hit 'N Run, A La Lune, Tragic Culture and Disturbing the Peace.
For the first time, the festival will include "float" stages inspired by the floats in Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. Themed floats will include the Knights of Random Party Bus by Random Nights, Saints and Sinners by The Tiki Lounge/Pride, Barely Legal (a Burlesque troupe), the Sintral Valley Roller Derby Girls and the Stanislaus chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
"We want (the celebration) to be more authentic like Mardi Gras," Ricci said.
Women from Bottoms Up Espresso, a Modesto bikini coffee bar, will serve hot drinks, and attendees who buy VIP tickets will be treated to a Cajun buffet featuring jambalaya, gumbo and other Louisiana dishes. The neighboring Fat Cat Music House & Lounge and Barkin' Dog Grill will be open for revelers.
Maisetti said he believes there will be something for everyone in the 21-and-older age group. "We have a cross-section of musical interests and tastes," he said.
WHAT: 19th annual Tresetti's Fat Tuesday
WHEN: 5 p.m.-1 a.m. tonight
WHERE: 11th Street between I and J streets
TICKETS: $15 in advance, $20 at the door. $50 VIP, includes New Orleans buffet. Age 21 and older only.
CALL: (209) 572-2990