Throw Your Beads in the Air at These Mardi Gras Celebrations

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Your kids have mastered the art of throwing things and acting rowdy, so why not channel all their vibrant energy into a memorable Mardi Gras celebration? Fat Tuesday is February 28th, and we have plenty of reasons to party. Ring in Mardi Gras around town by dining on authentic, New Orleans-style food, making festive masks to wear at a masquerade party, dressing up Fido for a Doggie-Gras parade, and so much more! Read on to find the perfect celebration for your family.


Photo: Marni Fogelson-Teel

Celebrate Mardi Gras at Pretend City
Get your toes tapping and umbrellas in the air as you enjoy festive Mardi Gras music throughout the day with fun activities to match. This celebration of carnival and family will let you share in the traditions and culture of Mardi Gras. The revelry includes costume and float making, king cake decorating, a dance party and a parade.

When: Tues., Feb. 28, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Cost: Included with museum admission

29 Hubble
Irvine, CA 92618

SONY DSCPhoto: Helen Woodward Animal Center

Pets on Parade
Pets and their fun-loving owners can strut their stuff at Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Doggie Gras, a N’awlins inspired parade for furry friends. Dress up Fido or Fifi in costume or even make a “float” from a stroller or wagon and see who gets crowned King and Queen on “Bour-bone Street.” Swing by the parade route to participate, to watch the fun, or to enter the contest for a $10 fee that supports the Center. Don’t forget your beads!

When: Sun., Feb. 26, 10 a.m.-noon

Rancho Santa Fe Farmer’s Market
10679 San Dieguito Rd.
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067


Photo: Pachis Art Studio

Pachis Art Studio for Kids
Pachis will host a special Mardi Gras-themed open art session where kids age 3 and up can make masks, necklaces and festive painting projects to revel in the holiday.

When: Feb. 27, 2-5:30 p.m.
Cost: $20/child

Liberty Station
2820 Roosevelt Rd #102
San Diego, Ca 92106


Photo: Mint Studio

Mint Studio
Take your little ones to Book Buzz at Mint Studio where storyteller Kristen Whittingham will read an interactive, Mardi Gras themed book to the kids, followed by Mardi Gras beading and making masks. Coffee and treats will be served.

When: Feb. 28, 10-11 a.m.
Cost: $20/child

5965 Village Way Unit 105
San Diego, Ca 92130

Masquerade Parade
The Lakeside Library has a lively Masquerade Mardi Gras planned for kids. Learn about the history and significance of Mardi Gras, then make a mask, join the parade and enjoy some Mardi Gras treats.

When: Sat., Feb 25, 11 a.m.

9839 Vine St.
Lakeside, Ca 92040


Photo: Leah Singer 

Treat Your Shortstacks to a Pancake Dinner
Fat Tuesday is called Pancake Tuesday in England, on which it’s a tradition to use up all the sweets and butter in the house and to feast on decadent pancakes. For a family date night, what could be more indulgent than having a pancake breakfast for dinner? Check out our top picks for where to order up a stack of delicious pancakes all over town.

FancyNancyFacesPhoto: Nancy Dulay

Make Jambalaya Your Jam
Mardi Gras is the perfect time to spice things up. Local food hero Sam the Cooking Guy has the foolproof, easy weeknight way to create your own jambalaya at home with a few simple ingredients. Got a rice cooker? Then it’s a go. Check out his recipe for mixed jambalaya.

Festive Dance & Face Paint Party
Let your kids get footloose and fancy free with a dance party complete with face painting. All you need are snacks, bead necklaces, and an upbeat playlist that will get kids boogying. Add a face painter to the mix so kids can wear painted masks in honor of Mardi Gras. Nancy Dulay, owner of Fancy Nancy Faces, establishes a great rapport with kids and creates beautiful and intricate designs that they’ll love.


Photo: William S. via Yelp

New Orleans-Style Date Night 
Bud’s Louisiana Cafe is the place to go for a casual, delicious, New Orleans-style dinner. Every detail in this unassuming bistro speaks of comfort — from the attentive wait staff to the warm decor and decadent food. We love the jambalaya, gumbo and red beans and rice. Save room for dessert. Bud’s makes authentic beignets: fresh warm donuts covered in powdered sugar. Make your reservation now so you’re sure to nab a table to enjoy this authentic Mardi Gras meal.

4320 Viewridge Ave.
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: 858-573-2837

How do you celebrate Mardi Gras in San Diego? Tell us in the Comments below!

–– Cherie Gough