Kendall Park’s ‘Fat Saturday’

Locals raise money for musician fund with parade.

By: Joseph Harvie
   Fat Tuesday is more than a month away, but that didn’t stop Randy Kirkpatrick and his friends from celebrating Mardi Gras — Kendall Park style.
   "Now starts the first annual, World’s Smallest and Shortest, but Best, Mardi Gras Parade," announced Mr. Kirkpatrick of Dundee Road in Kendall Park as he, his son and six of their friends followed a drum roll into their rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In" on Saturday afternoon.
   The parade, which was a little more than 1,000 feet from start to finish, was followed by an open-house party at Mr. Kirkpatrick’s. It was all to raise money and awareness for the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, which was set up by New Orleans musicians Jeff and Karen Beninato to help professional musicians displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
   "I was in New Orleans about three years ago, visited some of the clubs, and I was blown away," Mr. Kirkpatrick said. "I was trying to get back down there since then, and then, when Katrina happened, I wanted to find a way to help out, as a fellow musician."
   Mr. Kirkpatrick said he was able to raise $1,018 at the parade and the party.
   The members of the World’s Shortest and Smallest Mardi Gras Parade Band are no strangers to marching. Mr. Kirkpatrick has been a member of a small drum corps that has marched annually in the Jamesburg Memorial Day Parade for more than 25 years.
   George Jaccoud, a friend of Mr. Kirkpatrick, said he was cautious about signing up, but did it to see what kind of sound the mix of musicians in the small parade band could make.
   "I was a little leery," Mr. Jaccoud said. "I wasn’t quite sure how it would work out, but I was interested to see how Dixieland and drum corps music would sound together."
   Also in the band were Dan Pagen of Kendall Park on drums; Matt Cohen on trombone, Calvion Gohd on trumpet and Alex Kirkpatrick on drums, all freshmen at South Brunswick High School and members of the Viking Marching Band; Mark Desmond, a member of the Crossroads South Jazz Band; Rick Stein on trumpet; and Dave Hackler on trombone.
   The parade started at the corner of Dundee and Bedford roads. The small marching band played the first tune and jammed a snippet of "Indiana" into "When the Saints Go Marching In" before it reached Bedford Park, where members jammed for a minute.
   The band was followed by friends and family, some on scooters, most wearing crowns, Native American headdresses, some playing penny whistles, and all dancing and laughing their way to and from Bedford Park.
   As the parade traveled en route to Bedford Park, Bedford Road residents peered out their windows and emerged from their homes, clapping along and throwing candy to the happy-go-lucky paraders.
   Mr. Kirkpatrick holds the event each year as a way to get together with friends in the area. But, once he heard about NOMRF, he wanted to do something for fellow musicians.
   "We’re kind of musicians; they’re really musicians," Mr. Kirkpatrick said. "We just wanted to help."
   To make a donation, make checks payable to NORMF and send to NORMF, 104 W. Washington Street, Unit No. 2, Bloomington, Ill., 61701 or visit its Web site at