Get your beads out and put your dancing shoes on, as we are just days away from Mardi Gras celebrations. Traditionally celebrated on “Fat Tuesday,” which lands on Feb. 21 this year, this tradition dates back thousands of years and has even expanded into a week-long celebration of good food and good parties in places such as Brazil, Venice and New Orleans. But Toronto can definitely hold its own when it comes to parties, so get ready to celebrate this tradition right at home this year.
Check out these Toronto events that will have you celebrating Mardi Gras in classic New Orleans style.
Mardi Gras Party at Fiction Nightclub
Fiction Nightclub is putting on the mega party of the month. On March 3, join thousands of partiers for a night of club anthems, hip hop and Top 40 and celebrate in true New Orleans style. Professional photographers will be in attendance as the night kicks off with a bead throwing contest. The Mardi Gras Party is an 18+ event with tickets costing $10 – $25.
Goin’ Back to New Orleans
On Feb. 17, St. Andrew’s Church will transport you to the streets of New Orleans with a day full of traditional parades. Dance and sing along to classic songs like When the Saints Go Marching In and Jambalaya. Jazz trumpeter Patrick Tevlin will headline for the entertaining evening with his band The Happy Pals, which includes pianist Jordan Klapman. Tickets cost $20.
Villa Charities has partnered with Leonardo Da Vinci Academy and Accademia dei Ragazzi to host a special Carnevale event for Mardi Gras. This day of family-friendly, free fun includes live music, arts and crafts, face painting, traditional carnival desserts and more! Get dressed in a Carnival-themed outfit on Feb. 21 at the Joseph D. Carrier Gallery, Columbus Centre.
New Orleans Purim Carnival
While this celebration is all about celebrating the Purim, it’s bringing the same energy as a Mardi Gras party. At the New Orleans Purim Carnival, celebrate the Jewish holiday with drinks, dance, masquerade and music from jazz band the Red-Hot Ramble. Prizes are up for grabs like best costume, best dance moves and more. The celebration is taking place March 5 at the Prosserman Jewish Community Centre.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
If you’d rather skip the parties and prefer to feast, why not participate in Shrove Tuesday — otherwise known as Pancake Tuesday — instead? Visit St. James Cathedral on Feb. 21 for a family-friendly afternoon of crafts, live music and, of course, pancakes!
Mardi Gras Party with Loco Zydeco
If you’re willing to travel outside the city for a good party (and it will be worth it), Music by the Bay is putting on a high-energy show at the Port Whitby Marina on Feb. 18. A Toronto-based zydeco band, Loco Zydeco will take the stage to perform the catchy contemporary and traditional tunes of Southwest Louisiana — likely with plenty of opportunity for audience participation. Tickets are $45.