Lake Charles Mardi Gras
January 6 - March 1, 2022
Celebrate Mardi Gras - Lake Charles Style!
Mardi Gras season is almost upon us! This year, there is plenty of time to plan your trip to Lake Charles with Mardi Gras Day landing on March 1, 2022. Lake Charles Mardi Gras krewes are gearing up for a festive season filled with parades, cookoffs and plenty of King Cake. Lake Charles Mardi Gras is family-friendly, and it boasts over 60 krewes that participate in the Krewe of Krewes Parade which is the culmination of the season on Fat Tuesday. Many bakeries, restaurants and businesses also participate in the Mardi Gras season by offering traditional King Cakes, food and drink options with a Mardi Gras twist or seasonal specials and events to celebrate the Mardi Gras spirit in Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana.
Mardi Gras Weekend kicks off with the Merchants' Parade on Friday, Feb. 25. The following day, krewes and area chefs participate in the World Famous Cajun Extravaganza Gumbo Cookoff at the Lake Charles Civic Center, from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., followed by the Krewe of Barkus Parade and the Krewe of Omega Parade - both at 2 p.m. (The Krewe of Barkus is the perfect chance to see Mardi Gras pups and dogs strut their stuff in creative costumes!) Sunday, the Children's Parade, which is one of the largest parades, rolls down Ryan Street. Most parades start in downtown Lake Charles, and they travel down Ryan Street, ending at Sale Street which is located right next to McNeese State University. Along the parade route, everyone lines the street and shouts "Throw Me Something Mister!" One pro-tip is to bring a bucket or umbrella (that you turn upside down) because many krewe members and parade participants enjoy trying to "rope" the bucket or umbrella! It's an efficient way to get lots of beads!
Then, Fat Tuesday, make sure that you wear traditional purple, green and gold and attend all the festivities including the Second Line Stroll Parade, Jeeps on Parade, Motor Gras Parade and the Krewe of Krewes Parade! Further down the road in Iowa, Louisiana, on Mardi Gras Day, Creole families organize and celebrate the Iowa Chicken Run with a traditional Captain of the Chicken Run blowing his whistle and stopping at area businesses to gather ingredients for the gumbo event and Zydeco Dance that takes place following the walking parade. It's the perfect chance to experience a traditional Mardi Gras event with lots of family fun.
For an arts & crafts project, check out making a shoebox Mardi Gras float. Learn about entering the Virtual Mardi Gras Shoebox Float Contest, and view the video below on how to make a shoebox float!
Check out all the events:
*Please note that all events are subject to change. Check back for updates.
Wednesday, Jan. 5
Imperial Calcasieu Museum, “Mardi Gras Museum” Exhibit
204 W. Sallier St., Lake Charles, LA
An exhibit of Mardi Gras costumes will be on display from Jan. 5 – March 27.
Museum hours are Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. / Sunday, 1 – 4 p.m. ($5 adults, $3 kids, $2 seniors)
*Reception on the opening night of Jan. 5
Thursday, Jan. 6
Mardi Gras 12th Night
Steps of the Lake Charles Civic Center
Ribbon and Kings Cake Cutting at 5:30 p.m. – Walking Parade of Royalty
Friday, Jan. 7
Live at the Museum event at 7 p.m.
Lake Charles Civic Center, Coliseum
Kings, Queens and Captains (Honoring Lords and Ladies)
Live music, food & dancing
Saturday, Jan. 8
Car Show & Street Dance (noon – 4 p.m.)
Second Line with a Band or DJ
Outside the Lake Charles Civic Center
Friday, Feb. 25
Merchants’ Parade, Ryan St., Lake Charles (7 p.m.)
Saturday, Feb. 26
World Famous Cajun Extravaganza Gumbo Cookoff & Zydeco Dance, Lake Charles Civic Center (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
The Krewe of Barkus, Lake Charles Civic Center Amphitheater – Gill St. (2 p.m.)
Krewe of Omega Parade, Downtown Lake Charles, Enterprise Blvd. (2 p.m.)
Sunday, Feb. 27
Lake Area Runners, Mardi Gras Madness 5K (Prior to Children’s Parade on Ryan St.)
The Children’s Parade, Ryan St., Lake Charles (3:30 p.m.)
Tuesday: March 1
Second Line Stroll, Downtown Lake Charles on Ryan St. (1 p.m.)
Jeeps on Parade, Ryan St., Lake Charles (2 p.m.)
Motor Gras Parade, Ryan St., Lake Charles (3 p.m.)
Krewe of Krewes’ Parade, Ryan St., Lake Charles (5 p.m.)
Also on March 1:
Iowa Chicken Run / Gumbo & Zydeco Dance following the walking parade – KC Hall, Iowa (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.)