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‘Tis the Season for Mardi Gras

Parlez-vous français? Don’t worry, you don’t need to speak French to in order to celebrate one of the most famous French holidays of the year: Mardi Gras.  Whether or not you are lucky enough to visit the lowlands of Louisiana for the hectic celebration, everyone can throw on a pair of beads and chow down.  After all, the term Mardi Gras directly translated to “Fat Tuesday,” and we all love a chance to gorge ourselves.

However, in college it’s not always so easy to find a spot to celebrate a non-American holiday in the middle of the week.  Never fear, there are a multitude of bars, restaurants, and day festivities lasting not just one day, but all week long.  So take a study break and join the fun.

Durham Mardi Gras Parade and Party:

If you religiously watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then this is the event for you.  It’s a free spectacle with live entertainment to celebrate the day of feasting (and did I mention it was FREE).

  • CCB Plaza 201 North Corcoran Street, Durham, North Carolina

  • Feb. 17th

  • Time: 7:00pm-11:00pm


Have a craving to eat some traditional creole food on Fat Tuesday? Batistella’s traditional cajun cuisine will make you feel like you’re walking down Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  They already started celebrating Mardi Gras with drink specials that keep on getting better all the way through Tuesday the 17th.

  • City Market, 200 East Martin St. Raleigh, NC, 27601

  • Feb 6th – Feb 17th

  • Open 11:30am-10:00pm

Fat Tuesday Soiree at Southern Season:

Food is what it’s all about. A Southern Season and the Weathervane restaurant are teamed up to serve a variety to traditional creole dishes and drinks with the added bonus of a live jazz band. A class way to celebrate the feast.

  • 201 South Estes Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

  • Feb 17th

  • Time: 5:00pm-9:00pm

Fat Tuesday on Fayetteville Street:

Not much of a night partier? No worries.  Fayetteville street in Raleigh is bringing out all the stops: from street performers and food trucks to live music and plenty more.  The real highlight is the traditional lowcountry restaurant called The Big Easy that will be serving up their famous creole and cajun dishes per usual.

  • Fayetteville Street, Raleigh

  • Feb 17th

  • Time: 12:00pm-10:00pm

While you stuff your face with spicy, fried, over-the-top food and drinks, don’t forget to save room for the pièce de résistance: King Cake.  This traditional ring of deliciousness can be ordered from most bakeries throughout the entire month of February.  After all the celebrations are over, be on the lookout for a few extra cakes and slices in local bakeries because they aren’t always made year round.  

La Farm Bakery:

A traditional French bakery, there is no doubt that their King Cakes shine as bright as the beads on Mardi Gras.

  • 4248 Southwest Cary Parkway, Cary, NC 27513

Stick Boy Bread Company:

They must do something right to earn 5 out of 5 stars on their ratings.  The Fuquay-Varina local bakery boasts the freshest ingredients for their breads and cakes.  Their King Cakes are no exception.

  • 127 S Main St, Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526

Balcazar Bakery:

Wanting to try a little something different? This international bakery serves traditional South American desserts and delicacies.  Their King Cake is a Colombian King Cake–not quite the same as a New Orleans Style King Cake.  These cakes are filled with fruit and topped with a slight cream drizzle (although surprisingly not as sweet as the NOLA version).

  • 4020 Capital Boulevard, Raleigh, NC 27604

Mardi Gras comes only once a year, so this is your excuse to stuff your face full of incredible food without a twinge of guilt.  Throw on some beads and any purple, gold, and green colored clothing items and enjoy a day devoted to celebration. After all, you need to eat enough sweets to remember what they taste like before you give them up for Lent.

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