Oh, Mardi Gras — green, purple and gold beads, sugary dessert and mountains of meat, a Louisianian’s favorite festivity and a holiday centered around feasting, and for some, debauchery. Mardi Gras, literally meaning fat Tuesday in french, dates back thousands of years to different pagan traditions. Once Christianity came to Rome, religious leaders incorporated local traditions to create the Mardi Gras we celebrate today — a feast of celebration before the start of Lent, a 40 day fasting and penance period for Christians. Mardi Gras is another term for carnival, which derives its meaning from the feasting tradition.
If you aren’t already hopping on a plane to New Orleans draped in beads and stuffing your face with king cake, don’t fret, South Florida has plenty to offer as well.
Brickell’s Mardi Gras Bar Crawl
Starting Location: American Social, 690 SW 1st Ct., Miami
When: Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m. – sunrise
Admission: $25 – $35 (includes one drink at each location)
Purchase tickets: http://www.brickellbarcrawl.com/
For the 21 and older crowd, join other Mardi Gras fanatics and hit six of Miami’s best bars. At ticket will grant you access to free covers and free drinks at American Social Brickell, The Craftsman Miami, El Capo Brickell, Taverna Opa, Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant, and Batch Gastropub (plus, you might get some free beads). Crawl through Mary Brickell’s very own rendition of New Orleans, and if you aren’t tired from all the walking, there will be an after party, location TBD.
Fort Mardi Gras
Location: 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale
When: Feb. 10, 4 p.m.- 10 p.m.
Though it is a bit of a drive, Fort Mardi Gras is a party you don’t want to miss. You will be immersed in the Louisianian spirit as you feast on crawfish and gumbo surrounded by jesters and live jazz. Complete with a marketplace bazaar and an eating contest, Fort Mardi Gras is the only true Fat Tuesday celebration happening over the true Mardi Gras weekend.
Mardi Gras at Fish House Miami
Location: 10000 SW 56th St., Miami
When: Feb. 13, 6 – 112 a.m.
Admittance: Cost of food
Fish House Miami is a foodies’ delight. Simply put, there is no better place to get your “feasting” grub in Miami on the actual Fat Tuesday itself. The seafood restaurant hosts its own party, complete with an authentic Cajun menu with a crawfish boil, jambalaya, grilled oysters and king cake. The House will also have four stages featuring different bands, which are being kept secret for the time being. Don’t be surprised if you find your new favorite restaurant, or if you come back with a pound of beads around your neck.
Carnaval on the Mile
Location: Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
When: March 3-4, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
With Carnaval Miami, Mardi Gras festivities don’t stop even when Lent has started. The family-friendly street-art festival will feature over 150 artists and live jazz, funk, rock and afro-Caribbean music from professional performers. From Saturday March 3rd to Sunday March 4th, stroll down to Miracle Mile, enjoy the art and music and, for added perks, help benefit the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, an organization dedicated to serving underprivileged children in South Florida.