A Kenton native has been crowned king for the 2020 Mardi Gras season.
Tony Adams, a 1975 graduate of Kenton High School, is currently serving as King Janus XXXVII in Monroe, La. He and Queen Janus XXXVII Donna Tolar were presented to the public for the first time at their coronation Jan. 6 and are representing the Krewe of Janus. Krewe refers to a group of members.
Adams got involved with Mardi Gras shortly after he moved to Louisiana in 1989. Mardi Gras – or Fat Tuesday (the final day of feasting before the Lent season begins on Ash Wednesday) – is a big part of Louisiana culture. This year’s festivities take place from Jan. 6 to Feb. 25.
“Every town, no matter how small, celebrates Mardi Gras with parades and other festivities,” Adams said. “Statewide it’s a holiday, and schools are out and offices closed.”
Adams joined the Krewe of Janus in 2002 and has served in several officer positions, including lieutenant, captain, royal court duke, and squire to the king.
The Krewe of Janus was established in 1984. It promotes tourism in the twin cities of Monroe and West Monroe, La. by sponsoring and conducting a Mardi Gras parade, which has been recognized as one of the top 20 tourism events in the South for several years.
The Krewe of Janus bestows upon its most worthy members the honor of reigning as king, queen, duke or duchess. In order to be a duke or duchess, you must be a member in good standing and have held membership in the krewe for a minimum of one year. In order to be king or queen, you must be a member in good standing and have been a duke or duchess prior to being elected king or queen.
Adams said members nominate candidates for king and queen and cast secret ballots to make their final selections. Winners are announced at a fall cocktail party.
“What an honor to be selected to represent the krewe as king,” Adams said. “We visit all the area schools and nursing homes leading up to the parade day. Parade day finds thousands of people along the parade route in RV’s and popup tents with grills going, celebrating and enjoying the holiday.”
A children’s parade is held in the morning. The Krewe of Janus royalty leads a pet parade that afternoon, and then, “Just as dusk settles in, the krewe’s grand, lighted parade begins with 16 to 20 lighted floats carrying hundreds of masked, costumed riders who throw thousands of strands of Mardi Gras beads, cups and other trinkets to the spectators,” Adams said. “Then, there are the marching bands, the walking units, the royal court float, the queen’s float, and the king’s float all mixed into the lineup. The parade can take hours to pass by.”
This year’s parade will be held Saturday, Feb. 15, and Adams will have several special guests with him. His sister Kellye and her husband Dennis Harris and his niece Whitney and husband Jonathan Petty will join him and his mother Treva Cooper Adams for the grand parade. They also attended the royal ball Feb. 1.
Treva travelled to Tony’s home in Louisiana in late December to help him prepare for his reign as king. The duo spent weeks gluing thousands of rhinestones onto his costume and ordering the many thousands of beads and trinkets that he will throw from his float during the parade.
“It has been a blessing to have my mother present and here to participate in all the daily activities,” Adams said. “Most of the time, the king’s parents have already passed away, so anytime there is a surviving parent, they are usually granted royal status by the whole krewe membership. Mother has her own tiara and has affectionately been declared the royal granny. She can hardly wait for parade night, and she’s ready to witness the royal procession of her son, King Janus XXXVII in ‘The Magic of Fairy Tales.’”
Adams and his family lived in Kenton for many years. His mother and sister reside in Rutherford.