Carnaval, Carnevale, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in French) is that partying and merrymaking period that precedes Lent. In ancient times, it was a celebration of Dionysus or Bacchus (god of wine), and the festivities have continued to this day. Carnival is celebrated in many countries, but the best-known parties are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Venice, Italy; and New Orleans, USA.
The party in New Orleans, known to locals as “the Greatest Free Show on Earth," is flat-out terrific. Float parades, masks, beads, gas-lit torches, food, crowds, and endless parties. “Laissez les bon temps roulez!,” as they say, which simply means “let the good times roll.”
But if we talk about "good times," then every day is Mardi Gras in Vegas! Good times roll and roll in this great city of ours! We may not have Rio's huge Sambadrome celebrations, but there are still plenty of activities that you can enjoy in Vegas for Mardi Gras:
Mardi Gras Celebration Downtown: Enjoy New Orleans food and music featuring Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys on February 24 (Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. Fourth St). Tickets are $10 plus tax in advance and $15 plus tax on event day. You can check it out online or call 702-229-ARTS (2787) for tickets and information.
Mardi Gras at the Springs Preserve: On February 25, from noon to 4 p.m., enjoy the different activities at the Springs Preserve, such as the Wagon Parade and the Mask Competition. This is a family-friendly event, with live music and typical Southern food. Admission is free for children 2 and under, and $6 for everybody else.
17th Annual Taste & Sound of Soul Festival: February 25-26, head to Fremont Street Experience to enjoy barbecue, soul food, blues and oldies, and so much more.
Mardi Gras at The Park: Head to the Las Vegas Strip on February 28 after 3 p.m., to enjoy a great party, featuring traditional New Orleans style décor, live music, cocktails, and so much more.
Mardi Gras at the LINQ Promenade: From The Park, head to the LINQ, where you will be treated to parades – stilt walkers and all! – live entertainment, masks and more Mardi Gras beads that you could possibly imagine. Don’t miss the opportunity to take pictures at the High Roller, which will be dressed in gold, green and purple lights to honor the occasion. Festivities begin at 6 p.m.
The Las Vegas Mini Mardi Gras Parade: February 28 at 7 p.m., bring your homemade mini float to this tiny parade for a chance to win up to $500 in cash. You could win a cash prize for having the best float -- or the worst. Yay?
Mardi Gras at Carnival Court: Appropriately enough, Harrah's Las Vegas hosts its celebration at the aptly titled Carnival Court, where it will host bands, dancers, traditional beads, and bunches of cocktails. Festivities are on February 28.
Mardi Gras Parade at The Orleans: This free event will be held on February 28 at 2 p.m. at the Mardi Gras Pit at The Orleans. Don’t miss the opportunity to take selfies with the Mardi Gras girls.
$30K Party Grass Giveaway at Hard Rock Casino: Every Friday in February starting at 5 p.m., 35 lucky winners will be drawn every 30 minutes! The last drawing will be February 24. Entries are earned based on play, so check your status or how to play with the rewards center.
Fat Tuesday Hot Seat 10K Giveaway at Palace Station: From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Palace Station is paying out $1000 every hour! You just need to be playing your favorite video poker or slot machine to be eligible to win.
If you really want to get into the spirit of things, here's where you can find last minute costumes in Vegas. But remember that all you need to have fun in Las Vegas is your merry attitude!
Laissez les bon temps roulez in Fabulous Las Vegas!