When you mention Mardi Gras in St. Louis, most of us think of Soulard, home to one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations outside of New Orleans. The Soulard festivities last for weeks, beginning with Twelfth Night in January and ending with Fat Tuesday on February 12. Here are the top events and activities during the 2013 Soulard Mardi Gras.
Soulard's celebration may be the biggest, but it isn't the only party in town. Here's information on other Mardi Gras celebrations in the St. Louis area and where to get Mardi Gras supplies for your own party.
The cold weather won't stop the players at the Snowman Softball Tournament in Forest Park. The tournament has both men's and co-ed divisions. The entry fee is $150 with money going to the Police Athletic League. For more information call (314) 771-5110.
January 12, 2013
7:30 a.m. - Dusk
The Family Winter Carnival is a chance for everyone to get into the Mardi Gras spirit. There are live performances, arts and crafts and a children's parade. The carnival is held at Soulard Market Park, but many of the events are inside a heated tent.
January 19, 2013
11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Hurricanes may be the drink of choice during many Mardi Gras events, but Soulard also celebrates with wine, beer and whiskey. The Mardi Gras Wine, Beer and Whiskey Taste will be held in the rotunda of St. Louis City Hall. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.
January 25, 2013
6:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
You are sure to get your fill of Cajun and Creole food at the Cajun Cook-Off. Ten professional chefs and ten amateur cooks compete in separate categories for the best Cajun/Creole dish. Watch the chefs prepare their dishes, then it's time to eat. Everyone who attends gets four food tickets and samples of Bud Light beer and Southern Comfort hurricanes. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.
January 26, 2013
Noon - 4 p.m.
This is a great way to sample food from many of Soulard's best restaurants. Make your way to each restaurant or pub and use one of your tickets for a taste of its signature dish. If you don't want to walk, there's a free trolley on Saturday. Ticket books cost $25 for six tastes and a complementary glass of Southern Comfort.
February 2 & 3, 2013
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It doesn't matter if you have a dog or not, this event is something to see. This is the 20th year for the pet parade and organizers are expecting thousands of dogs and their owners to turn out. Many will be decked out in costumes, others just come to be part of the fun. It costs $10 per animal to register for the parade. The money goes to the Open Door Animal Sanctuary, a no kill shelter in Jefferson County. You can register on the day of the parade, starting at 10 a.m., at Allen and Menard. See pictures of the Barkus Pet Parade.
February 3, 2013
Talk about a dog-eat-dog competition, the annual Wiener Dog Derby pits some of the area's fastest dachshunds against each other. Okay that may be a bit of an exaggeration. It's clearly more fun than competition, but the derby in Soulard Market Park is always one of the most popular events of the Soulard Mardi Gras. There are three divisions of racers based on the dog's age with top finishers in each category taking home prizes.
February 3, 2013
This masquerade ball at St. Louis City Hall is the formal event of Mardi Gras. Hob nob with St. Louis society for the evening while enjoying dinner, an open bar and live music. Complimentary valet parking is available. Tickets are $100 to $500 a person.
February 8, 2013
This is the big event of Mardi Gras, bringing tens of thousands of revelers to the streets of Soulard. Some 130 Krewes spend months building their floats, hoping to win prizes and bragging rights at the parade. In addition to the floats, there are also marching bands and, of course, millions of beads flying through the air. The parade begins at Busch Stadium, makes its way into the heart of Soulard and ends at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.
February 9, 2013
For those who just can't get enough of Mardi Gras, this is the last hurrah. The Light up the Night Parade in downtown St. Louis lets you celebrate right up to the start of Lent. Some of the top floats from the Grand Parade will fill the streets as the crowds gather once again to party, listen to music and catch a few more beads.
February 12, 2013