Your Complete Guide to Mardi Gras in Dallas

Mardi Gras Oak Cliff parade
Mardi Gras Oak Cliff parade Melissa Hennings
Whether you call it Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras or Carnival, it’s a day for letting loose and having an excessively good time before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season that leads up to Easter Sunday.

This year Fat Tuesday falls on March 1, and if you can’t make it to Bourbon Street, there will be plenty of beads, booze and trouble to get into around North Texas. Festivities start two weeks prior to the big day. We’ve gathered a few of them here.

Le Bon Temps
2932 Main St. (Deep Ellum)
Feb. 15
 March 15
Every day is a trip to the Big Easy at Les Bon Temps. Serving some of the best beignets and café au lait west of New Orleans, this is a great place to stop by before heading to your Mardi Gras celebration for an authentic taste of Louisiana. For Mardi Gras, they have Mardi Gras Parade Beignets, which is a king cake-stuffed beignet, a pancake beignet and a creole cinnamon beignet. They will also have king cake ice cream, hurricane tea and a king cake coffee float. And the great news is that these Mardi Gras treats will be available until March 15.

Lake Dallas Mardi Gras
212 Main St. (Lake Dallas)
4:30-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25

Wear your festive greens, purples and golds and collect all the beads you can as floats pass by during this parade at Lake Dallas. There will be a vendor market and mask contest. And you won’t want to miss the crawfish eating contest, where contestants are given 1 pound of crawfish and three minutes to peel, suck and eat as many mudbugs as they can. You can enter the contest for free on the night of the event. Returning this year to headline the entertainment is The N’awlins Gumbo Kings.
click to enlarge Hurricanes and po' boys will be flowing at Legacy Hall in Plano. - COURTESY OF LEGACY HALL
Hurricanes and po' boys will be flowing at Legacy Hall in Plano.
Courtesy of Legacy Hall
Mardi Gras at Legacy Hall
7800 Windrose Ave. (Plano)
3-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 and Tuesday, March 1

This is Legacy Hall’s 5th Annual Mardi Gras party with two full days of themed festivities (Saturday Feb. 26 and Tuesday March 1) complete with Creole fare, live jazz music and hurricane cocktails. Both events are free to attend, but they recommend registering for the event ahead of time.

Dock Local will have a crawfish boil for $38 starting at 3 p.m. Saturday and Tuesday, while supplies last. Monster po' boys from Dock Local and mini king cakes from Leila Bakery will be available Saturday through Tuesday.

NOLA-style entertainment in the Box Garden includes Unfaded Brass Band from 3-5 p.m. Terrance Bradford and Congo Square from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and The Big Ass Brass Band from 8-10 p.m.

VIP balcony tickets for guests 21+ can be purchased for $45 to $65, which include open balcony seating overlooking the Box Garden, a hurricane in a souvenir cup, and one monster po' boy or one crawfish boil.

On Tuesday, March 1, Legacy Food Hall will have Mardi Gras themed food and drink specials and New Orleans entertainment by Bobby Falk Brass Edition from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Dash for the Beads Race
711 W. Canty (Oak Cliff)
9 a.m.
-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26
Dash for the Beads is an annual 10k and 5k run along with a 1-mile walk that coincides with Mardi Gras. The organizer is a nonprofit organization that gives to local schools to help promote healthy eating and physical activity for grade school children. Prizes will be awarded for the best-dressed walker, runner and pet. After the run hang around for one of the best Mardi Gras parties in North Texas. Run for the beads but keep your top on, please.

Mardi Pawz
340 W. Las Colinas Blvd. (Texas Lottery Plaza)
1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26

This Mardi Gras celebration is a pet adoption, a dog parade, costume contest and a crawfish boil provided by Green Gator. There's also live music from Terence Bradford and the Congo Square. Bring your furry best friend and register for the Mardi Pawz Parade, where you and your pup can don your most festive carnival costume for a chance to win prizes.

Mardi Gras Oak Cliff Parade
Oak Cliff/Bishop Arts District
4-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27
Celebrate Mardi Gras with an Oak Cliff twist. The 2022 Mardi Gras Oak Cliff parade begins at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb 27, and runs along Davis Street from Nova (near Kessler Theater) into the heart of Bishop Arts. This event grows larger each year with an estimated 10,000 people in attendance. You’ll feel like you’re in the heart of the French Quarter as the floats and bands roam through the street and doubloons and beads are thrown into the air.

Krewe of Barkus
202 S. Chestnut St. (McKinney)
12:30-4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27

This year marks the 20th Krewe of Barkus parade in historic downtown McKinney. The theme is “A Walk Down Memory Lane.” Participants can choose their favorite theme from prior years. Dog costume awards will be chosen for: best in show, most creative, best dog-owner combo, best group and best use of theme.

Nate’s Seafood & Steakhouse
14951 Midway Road (Addison)
Sunday, Feb. 27 through Tuesday, March 1
For the last 33 years, Nate’s has been bringing Mardi Gras to Addison. The festivities begin each year with Sunday Gras (Feb. 27), continues with Lundi Gras (Feb 28), and ends with Mardi Gras (Mar 1). For Mardi Gras, the party begins at 9 a.m., and live bands will play all day while Nate’s serves Cajun creations. Since Nate himself is originally from Cajun country, he knows how to do Mardi Gras right and this is one party you don’t want to miss.

The Free Man Cajun Café & Lounge
2626 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)
Tuesday, March 1

For several years now, The Free Man Cajun Café and Lounge opens at 11 a.m. on Fat Tuesday for what is their greatest lunch of the year. Then around 5 to 6 p.m., people gather in front of the restaurant on Commerce Street for their annual Second Line March through Deep Ellum. They have about 30 musicians in the band and hundreds of people follow as they walk through Deep Ellum and then back to The Free Man. After the Second Line, they will have two brass bands playing on their small stage: Smoking Aces Brass Band starts at 7 p.m. and Funk and Cover Brass Band starts at 10 p.m. On the big stage, they march into a seven-piece version of their “Tuesday House Band” The Free Loaders, which features the owner and the most amazing horns Dallas has to offer. At 10 p.m., the incredible trombonist Marcus Parks closes out the day with his band.

Mardi Gras at Jaxon Beer Garden
311 S. Akard St. (Downtown)
6-10 p.m. Tuesday, March 1

Celebrate Mardi Gras Jaxon style where there will be drink specials, live music, a crawfish boil and more.  Guests will feel like they’re in the Big Easy with live music from Steven Austin & The Bioniq Brass Band and Cajun-broiled crawfish by the pound with corn, baby potatoes and andouille sausage. JAXON will also have mini king cake skillets. Have you had enough yet?
click to enlarge Mardi Gras cake - COURTESY OF BONGO BEAUX'S
Mardi Gras cake
Courtesy of Bongo Beaux's
Bongo Beaux’s Bourré Palace
218 W. Walnut St. (Celina)
Tuesday, March 1

For those of you north of Highway 121, head on over to Bongo Beaux’s in Celina for Mardi Gras. They’ll have a pound of boiled crawfish and a pint of beer for $12.95 and everyone that orders this Fat Tuesday special will be entered to win a $100 gift card to the restaurant. And be sure to save room for a slice of their Mardi Gras cake, homemade by Granny’s Sweeties, also local to Celina.

Fat Tuesday Mardi Craw
The Rustic, 3656 Howell St. (Uptown)
11 a.m. Tuesday, March 1

The Rustic is celebrating Mardi Gras by serving up authentic Cajun cooking and cocktails. While partygoers listen to live music and chow down on Louisiana’s best, including boiled crawfish, chicken and sausage jambalaya, fried crawfish tails, etouffee and hurricanes.
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Angie Quebedeaux is a freelance food writer for the Observer. A "ragin' Cajun" from Lafayette, she's been in Dallas since 2002. She is an HR director by day and loves to “laissez les bon temps rouler.”