If the idea of fighting for a spot along the parade route and bumping elbows as you try to catch the best beads and goodies gives you a tension headache, consider taking advantage of the Sulphur Mardi Gras Parade, a low-key, family-friendly event.
For over a decade, the Sulphur Mardi Gras parade lay dormant, until it was brought back in 2015 by Mayor Chris Duncan.
This marks the third year that the parade has been back in action and the second year of the day-long line up of events of the Sulphur Mardi Gras festival.
The festival is put on by the City of Sulphur in partnership with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Henning Cultural Center.
This year’s festival will include live music, food vendors, free games for the kids and the annual King Cake Taste Off.
From free kids activities like laser tag, coloring and bounce houses, to the no-alcohol policy along the parade route, the event has a strong family-friendly vibe.
Throughout the day, parade goers will be able to enjoy the musical line-up of the second annual Mardi Gras Festival, which includes artists like Amy Nicole & Zydeco Soul, Carl & Hollier and LA Roxx
This Saturday, kids activities and live music will kick off at noon, and the parade will roll down Cypress Street at 2 p.m.
The parade will end in front of the Henning House, where the second annual King Cake Taste Off will commence.
The taste off brings together vendors from throughout the region to vie for the title of best King Cake, in the categories of Best Filled, Best Non-filled, Best Decorated, Most Creative and Best Amateur Individual.
A panel of judges will choose the winners, but the public can also take part in the tasting while supplies last.
Last year, Misse’s Grocery took home the awards in the Best Non-filled category with their plain King Cake, Most Creative with their Tiramisu King Cake, Best Decorated and the People’s Choice Award.
Lisa Doucet, a 43-year-old bakery worker at Missy’s Grocery in Sulphur, has been making King Cakes for the past 15 years and was part of the baking and presentation of last year’s winning cakes.
Doucet is convinced the store’s cakes were noticed in the competition because everything is done by hand.
“Making the cakes takes several hours because we have to let the bread thaw, rise, be shaped, bake it, cool it, pipe in the filling, decorate and package them,” says Doucet. “Each cake is made in our store and everything from the baking to the filling and decorating is done by hand.”
The competition was a fun exercise in creativity for the bakery staff and an event they hope to continue taking part in at future festivals.
“Last year we were nervous because our cakes were the first ones to be sampled and seen, but then we got super excited because they kept calling our names over and over as winners,” says Doucet. “The event was fun and I think it brings something new to Sulphur. The turn-out was great last year and I hope we have just as many people this year.”
The Sulphur parade is among the first of the Mardi Gras events in the Southwest region of the state, and offers a quieter, more relaxed alternative to crowded parades in bigger cities like Lafayette.
“The city of Sulphur’s events are some of the first in Southwest Louisiana, it’s different than the other events in the area and our citizens seem to like it,” says Kaitlyn Gallegos, public relations and marketing representative for the city of Sulphur. “We’re excited for the second year of the festival, and it’s something we hope we can keep growing,”
List of Events
SAMBA Workshop with Casa Samba of New Orleans, Feb. 18, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lafayette
The Segovia Dance Company is partnering with Casa Samba from New Orleans to offer a two-hour workshop on Authentic Samba dance, a rhythmical dance of Afro-Brazilian origin. The workshop is perfect for first time dancers and is open to the public. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at www.segoviadance.com.
Lit De Gras, Feb. 18, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Lafayette
Cap off your weekend of Mardi Gras festivities with Feed N Seed’s Lit De Gras, an evening of electronic and dance music. KLINIK, BVNDIT, SNIZZ, CHAMPION, and BRASSA will be taking over spinnin' for the evening.
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Feb. 18, 8 p.m., Lake Charles
The Queen of Rock and Roll is coming to win the hearts of south Louisianians all over again. The American rock singer, songwriter, composer, musician and record producer will perform at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino this weekend and play some of her biggest hits.
Boil Battle, Feb. 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Baton Rouge
Give back to the Wounded Warrior Foundation and enjoy the kick off of LSU’s Baseball season at the Boil Battle at Walk-On’s Bistro. Gather a group of friends to enter your crawdads to vie for the title of most creative and best tasting.