Call him “Mr. Mardi Gras”because thats exactly who Marc Mendolia is. As the man behind the fundraising, marketing, event logistics, community relationshipbuilding and occasionally the wheel of a truckfor the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country, Mendolia not only knows how to plan a party, but how to partake in it like nobodys business.
Marc “Marc-o” Mendolia, 29
Development Specialist, Mardi Gras Inc.
How He Got Into the Biz. When I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to plan events, concerts, weddings, whatever. I started throwing electronic music concerts and working in hospitality. While in college, I sought out work in the event business and called on everyone who would give me a shot, paid or not.
Education/Training. I attended the University of Missouri-Columbia and received a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management with a minor in Business. With events, it’s really an on-the-job training course called “sink or swim.” Luckily, I’m a strong swimmer.
Best Work Day Ever. Two or three days after Mardi Gras, it seems like all of our vendors and sponsors make their way into the office. Reminiscing about the parade day and hearing all of their stories is a priceless day at work. Everyone always has a story about seeing a beer-fueled breakup in the middle of the party, and there’s always the guy from out of town whose phone is dead, and he’s lost all of his friends in the mix.
Why His Job Rocks. I get to meet all kinds of musicians and sometimes stand on stage while they play, and I often get to share these experiences and others with my best friends. The event planning business in St. Louis is comprised of a small circle of incredible people, and I’m fortunate enough to simultaneously work and party with them on most weekends.
Typical Day. On event days, you work harder than you ever thought possible at a pace that others would fi nd stressful in conditions that are less than favorable—like having to break down an event in the snow or pouring rain. Let’s just say, on more than one occasion, I’ve ended up in a dumpster for one reason or another. It’s a totally unpredictable profession, but it’s also a lot of fun.
Proudest Moment. During the Grand Parade, I walk up and down the route watching the floats and the hundreds of thousands who came to the party. I stand back, smile and say, “We did it again.”
Best Job Perk. Being in the festival business gets you lots of contacts with event partners for some of the best events the city has to offer. It’s safe to say that I haven’t paid for an event ticket in a while. My family and I get spoiled by the incredible events that we get to attend when I’m not working them.
Favorite Thing About Mardi Gras. The energy that the parade crews and festival revelers put into the holiday is really incredible. Some people love Halloween, others Saint Patrick’s Day. But, the most outrageous choose Mardi Gras as their holiday of choice. They are a special bunch of people.
Photo credit: Attillio D’Agostino