Mardi Gras, which falls on Tuesday, February 16 this year, is a vibrant celebration to embrace excess — whether it’s with extravagant parade floats, layers of purple, green, and gold beads, or dangerously delicious food and cocktails (hello, King Cake!) — before the Lenten season. Also called Fat Tuesday, this holiday is the grand finale to Carnival Season, which draws tourists near and far to places like New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro. This year, however, nearly all of the biggest parties and parades have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Back in November, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell confirmed that Mardi Gras 2021 is “not canceled, just different.” In fact, she clarified that Mardi Gras is “a religious holiday and in no way will it be canceled in our city.” She’s right: While many of the public events that draw massive crowds have been called off due to health and safety concerns, there are so many virtual Mardi Gras events taking place, so those who celebrate can enjoy the holiday festivities while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Take a look at these virtual events, all of which are taking place in the first two weeks of February, to find fun ways to bring the party and incredible spirit of New Orleans to your home.
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Mardi Gras for All Y’all
Today host Kota Hotb is set to host a three-night celebration starting Friday, February 12. The 4 1/2-hour online event will not only give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the sights and sounds of the Carnival, but it’ll also feature performances and interviews with top talent, including Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Emeril Lagasse.
Krewe of House Floats
Following the parade cancellation, New Orleans residents took matters into their own hands by decorating their houses to look like parade floats. On February 1, Krewe of House Floats will release a map of all of the decorated houses, so that local residents can take a socially-distant tour. If you want to take in their beauty from afar, you can still see photos of the 5,000+ house floats on the official map.
The virtual and in-person tours are free, but everyone is encouraged to donate to Krewe of House Floats’ campaign, which is hoping to raise $100,000 for anyone affected by COVID-19 restrictions and Mardi Gras event cancellations. Click here to get your map and donate.
Virtual Mardi Gras Cookie Decorating
Kick off Mardi Grass with something that the whole family can enjoy. Pick up a Mardi Gras-inspired cookie decorating kit, complete with 12 cutout sugar cookies, icing, and sprinkles. Then follow along on Facebook Live as Cake Time shows you how to make your Fleur-de-lis, mask, and crown cookies look as pretty as theirs. (FYI: You don’t need to purchase a kit to participate in the virtual event!)
Tune in to the Facebook Live with Cake Time on Tuesday, February 16 at 5 p.m. ET.
Virtual Mardi Gras 5K
Take the party outside by participating in the Mardi Gras Virtual 5k, hosted by The Virtual Run Challenge. Pick a time, date, and location that works best for you, and then walk or run at least 5k (just over 3 miles) to earn a medal and serious bragging rights.
Registration costs $45 per participant and includes a Mardi Gras Virtual 5K Finisher medal, race bib, and Finisher t-shirt. Click here to register.
Mardi Gras in a Box
Experience all that Mardi Gras has to offer in the comfort of your home, all thanks to this curated box from Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery. Inside, you’ll find a King Cake big enough to serve 16 people, Pat O’Brien’s signature Liquid Hurricane Mix for the adults in the house, a murder mystery game, and tons of festive party supplies.
Mardi Gras at the Workhouse
Along with their in-person cooking classes, bead demonstrations, and comedy shows, Workhouse Arts Center will be hosting several virtual events during the final days of Mardi Gras, teaching viewers how to make festive face masks, yard decorations, and Mardi Gras-inspired cocktails.
Details for the online demonstrations are still up in the air, so check the Workhouse Arts Center Facebook page for the specifics as the dates draw near.
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