Beads, king cake, glittering costumes, and parades, the Mardi Gras season in Southwest Louisiana officially begins this Saturday with activities at the Lake Charles Civic Center, 900 Lakeshore Drive, along with new and traditional celebrations throughout the month of February, culminating on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 21.
This Saturday, Jan. 7, the 12th Night Kick-off Festival will be held at the Lake Charles Civic Center’s Coliseum from noon – 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 with children five and under admitted for free. Advance tickets are available at Bayou a Dress for Less and Party Time Store. The event will feature krewe royalty parading, food trucks, fun jumps, and live music including the Adam Leger Band at 1:30 p.m., and music by Dani LaCour at 4 p.m.
A new event for the season is the Taste of Mardi Gras Cocktail Party to be held on Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 6-9 p.m. inside the Contraband Room at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Tickets are $30 per person, and tickets can be ordered by calling either (337) 244-1466 or (337) 488-4827.
Mardi Gras weekend starts early this year with the Mardi Gras Lighted Boat Parade on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. The Merchants’ Parade rolls on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. down Ryan Street. Saturday, Feb. 18, features the Mardi Gras Gumbo Cookoff from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., the Mardi Gras Children’s Stroll presented by the City of Lake Charles from 11 a.m. – noon, and the Krewe of Omega Parade at 2 p.m.
On Sunday, Feb. 19, Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana has teamed up with local agencies to produce Children’s Day activities at the Lake Charles Civic Center from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., with the first hour being sensory awareness time. Later that afternoon, the Children’s Parade rolls at 3:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 20, the community is invited to attend the Royal Gala to see a regal display of kings, queens, and courts from the area’s rich array of Mardi Gras Krewes. This event will take place at the Lake Charles Civic Center at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 with children five and under admitted for free.
Mardi Gras Day, the Second Line Stroll walking parade starts at 1 p.m. followed by Jeeps on Parade at 2 p.m., the Motor Gras Parade at 3 p.m., and the Main Event (Krewe of Krewes Parade) at 5 p.m. The Zone, presented by the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, is a family-oriented, alcohol and tobacco free area for families to enjoy on Fat Tuesday in the parking lot between Pujo and Kirby Streets from 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. complete with games, a live DJ, and refreshments.
In addition to Mardi Gras events in Lake Charles, the Iowa Chicken Run will take place on Mardi Gras Day with doors opening at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 503 E Hwy 90, at 8 a.m. followed by the parade line up at 9 a.m. and the parade rolling at 10 a.m. Following the parade, gumbo will be served from 2 – 4 p.m. with music provided by Rusty Metoyer & the Zydeco Krush at 5 p.m.
For more information on these events, parade routes, additional Mardi Gras activities throughout Southwest Louisiana, and parade entry forms, log onto www.swlamardigras.com.