Mardi Gras in Lafayette, Louisiana is a big part of our Cajun Culture. There are many fun family activities to do in Lafayette during the Mardi Gras activities.
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Updated January 2020
What is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras is a big celebration including parades, king cake, and more. It’s French for Fat Tuesday.
When is Mardi Gras?
Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. But Mardi Gras celebrations are not just on Fat Tuesday, but instead begins on The Twelfth Night. Experience a taste of Mardi Gras in Lafayette, Louisiana and other areas in Louisiana.
There are organizations called “krewes” that host some parades. Most krewes in South Louisiana have balls for their krewe members during the carnival season.
There are plenty of opportunities to watch parades. Parades around Lafayette, Louisiana start several weeks prior to Mardi Gras.
Over the years, some of the parades schedule has shifted, so click here to get the current parade schedule.
Prepare to get there early to get a good spot along the parade route.
Bring your lawn chair or blanket to sit while waiting for the parade.
Snacks and drinks are great to have while waiting too.
Mardi Gras beads, doubloons, and trinkets will be thrown from the floats so be sure to have a big bag to put them in.
You’ll hear “Throw me something Mister” throughout the parade route.
Parades will consist of marching bands, floats, and various other performers.
2. Mardi Gras Attire
Be ready for the parade and season by having themed shirts and beads.
You’ll get plenty of free traditional beads at the parade, but if you want some fancy ones, you’ll have to buy those ahead of time. There are some huge beads (like these) or light up ones (like these) that are fun to wear.
It’s fun to wear Mardi Gras outfits too. The traditional purple, gold, and green shirts are popular. They come in both long and short sleeves.
There are socks, stockings, and many other themed clothing.
3. King Cakes
It’s part of the tradition to have king cake. There are so many different types to choose from in Lafayette, Louisiana.
What is a King Cake?
It’s a pastry generally in an oval shape.
They come plain or filled with great fillings. If you want a certain size or filling, you may need to order ahead. Generally, there are various ones to choose from if you just walk in to buy one.
Some now include boudin. Boudin is a “rice dressing type” sausage.
Many are decorated with the purple, gold, and green icing. These colors are known as the Mardi Gras colors. The purple represents justice, gold represents power, and the green represents faith. Others are decorated with candy sprinkles.
The tradition is to have a “plastic baby” in the king cake and whoever gets that slice of cake with the “baby” must buy the next king cake. The baby usually comes with the cake and some put it in the cake. Due to safety reasons, some are not doing this anymore. If the baby is in the cake, caution should be taken since there is a foreign object in it.
One of my favorite king cakes is from Meche’s Donut King in Lafayette, Louisiana – cream cheese and chocolate filling. It is basically a huge donut and it is amazing. It is covered with purple, gold, and green icing. There are other fillings, but this is my favorite one.
My other favorite is from Keller’s Bakery Downtown in Lafayette, Louisiana – a cream cheese filling. It is a flat oval-shaped thin pastry covered with a glaze and sprinkles. It is super amazing. Of course, there are many other wonderful fillings to choose from.
Pick up a king cake. Grocery stores and bakeries sell them.
How Much Do King Cakes Cost?
The prices vary depending on the size, filling, and where you get it.
The grocery stores typically have the lower priced king cakes and bakeries have the higher priced ones. They can range in price from about $7 to over $50. Some places offer shipping options too for an additional fee.
We’ve shipped one to my son when he was in college out of state. We sent a huge one for him to share with others and they loved it! We did pay almost just as much for shipping as we did for the cake, but it was a special occasion.
Mardi Gras Celebrations in Lafayette, Louisiana
Celebrate Mardi Gras by attending a parade. Remember to get there early on the parade route with a chair, snacks, and drinks. Mardi Gras beads, doubloons, and trinkets will be thrown from the floats during the parade, so bring a bag to put everything in. Join in the fun by wearing themed shirts and special beads. Round out the experience with a delicious king cake. Happy Mardi Gras!!