Mardi Gras, or ‘Fat Tuesday’ in English, hits the 2015 calendar earlier this year, on February 17. Although the oft-raucous observance is celebrated mainly in New Orleans, the final shebang before Lent is also recognized throughout Los Angeles, thanks to the big city’s colorful French, Brazilian and Italian cultures. Exciting happenings are planned before and even after Mardi Gras. If you enjoy wearing feathered masks and ornamented costumes, dancing to jazz and zydeco music or stuffing your face with ethnic cuisine, here are some lively events around L.A. you’ll definitely want to check out.
‘Mardi Gras at Farmers Market’
The Original Farmers Market
6333 W. 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Date: Feb. 14, 15 and 17, 2015The world-famous Farmers Market is pulling out all the stops in its quest to put on one of the largest Mardi Gras festivals in the L.A. region. In a three-day, family-friendly celebration, revelers will be treated to live music, arts and crafts, roving New Orleans-style bands and some of the best selections of gut-filling meals west of the muddy Mississippi. With more than 100 restaurants and grocers, this buzzing marketplace is a prime destination for foodies in search of such palate-pleasing ethnic cuisine as yummy gumbo and divine jambalaya, among other guilty pleasures. If you’re a pet lover, like most Angelinos, you definitely won’t want to miss its annual “Mutti Gras Pet Parade,’ a crowd-pleasing event that struts its stuff on Sunday at noon.
‘31st Annual Brazilian Carnaval’
1439 Ivar Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 788 5699
Date: Feb. 14, 2015The celebration of carnival, by far, the most famous Brazilian festival. If you can’t get to Rio this year, your best bet is to scoot over to Hollywood’s Lure Nightclub, an 18,000-square-foot venue that’s hosting the largest hullabaloo of its type in the area. Some star performers slated for this annual festivity include original members of Olodum, an Afro Brazilian group credited with developing the music style known as samba reggae. The band reached notoriety after appearing in a music video for Michael Jackson’s single, “They Don’t Care About Us.” The adult gala will also highlight a spicy troupe of authentic feathered dancers, cirque acrobats and a parade of giant TV screens that will simulcast live events directly from Brazil. With several powerful bands on tap and singing sensation Dandara Odara also on the roster, you will be entertained well into the wee hours of the morning.
‘Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulez’
Harold & Belle’s
2920 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Date: Feb. 17, 2015Cajuns all know that “laissez les bon temps roulez” translates to “let the good times roll.’ That’s exactly what Harold & Belle’s has in store for its Mardi Gras guests on Fat Tuesday. Since 1969, the Creole restaurant has been dishing out such southern-kissed favorites as Louisiana-style catfish, filé gumbo, charbroiled oysters, crawfish étouffée and classic jambalaya. Be sure to sample the Bayou’s most-potent tropical cocktail, the hurricane, which will be offered at half-price. During the mid-afternoon hours, indoor diners will be entertained by a live musical performance, with a rousing band reigning over an outdoor block party that kicks off at 5 p.m.
‘Mardi Gras Cruise Singles Party’
Grand Romance Riverboat
Rainbow Harbor 200
Aquarium Way, Dock #4
Long Beach, CA 90803
Date: Feb. 21, 2015For many unattached party people in and around L.A., Mardi Gras means raising the anchor and rejoicing with fellow singles. That’s the ticket when the celebration rolls into the camera-ready Long Beach harbor for a four-hour cruise. QueenVee Entertainment has organized a meet-and-mingle jubilee aboard the Grand Romance Riverboat, an Old South-type paddle boat that gives imaginative passengers the impression that they have returned to a long-gone era. With three decks to explore, there is plenty of space to hobnob, pal around and kick up your heels to DJ Esco’s New Orleans-themed music. Because this maritime affair will wait for no one, you will want to arrive at the dock around 9 p.m. to guarantee a spot before making a few memorable waves of your own.
1233 Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90038
In honor of the New Orleans holiday, Hollywood’s Sassafras bar will be kicking it up a notch from 9pm to 2am with a lively party. Along with its usual cocktails and bayou flavored bites, the bar will be offering its new frozen Watermelon Daiquiri with Bacardi and Chareau Aloe Liqueur, as well as Irish Coffee with Jameson Black Barrel and an Aviation Gin Singapore Sling. Patrons will also get to dance to the tunes of the “Street Gumbo Grass Band” and to the rhythm of burlesque dancers.
‘Long Beach Carnevale’
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach, CA 90802
Date: Feb. 28, 2015If you enjoy painting your face or hiding it completely behind a camouflage of artwork, you won’t be alone at this fun-filled celebration. On the courtyard outside the Aquarium of the Pacific, Mardi Gras will be recognized in true Venetian form, replete with a dramatic exposition of expressive guises and Italian masks. This hours-long event will feature strolling performers, a magic show, live music and surprised bursts of colorful confetti. Makeup artists and hair stylists will also be on hand to help transform adults and children that are not in costume into magnificent displays of parading fanfare.
Related: Eat, Drink, Be Merry On Fat Tuesday