Mardi Gras comes to Los Angeles

Matthew Ashman

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Mardi Gras is coming up, and L.A. has a few places where CSUN students can kick back and have a good time celebrating, New Orleans style.

Let’s start with The Original Farmers Market, which has celebrated Mardi Gras for 23 years.  They start the party off a little early this weekend, (Fat Tuesday isn’t until Feb. 21), with EB’s Rajun Cajun Dance Party on Friday.

People who love dogs can have a great time by dressing up their pet and bringing it down for the Mutti Gras Pet Parade & Costume Contest.  Prizes are awarded to the best dressed canine.

Among the various bands playing at the farmers market are The Reynolds Brothers band, which has also played at Disneyland.

The best part about this celebratory extravaganza is that all of the events are free.

If people are more in the mood to party while donating to charity at the same time, Fullerton offers a destination.  Mardi Gras is celebrated at Bourbon Street, located at 110 E. Commonwealth Ave., where all the proceeds go to the Fullerton Elementary School District Autism Program.  They will feature stilt walkers, face painting, fire juggling and more.

Long Beach will be kicking things off at Rainbow Harbor on Saturday with a Venice-themed Mardi Gras celebration complete with gondola rides and a parade.

Shoreline Village will also be featuring music, art and more.  Everyone is encouraged to dress up for the event and participate in dancing with activities starting at 1 p.m. until 7 p.m..  The parade itself starts at 3 p.m.. It welcomes any stilt walkers, mimes and clowns to join in on the festivities. The entire event is free to all.

There are a lot of different foods served at Mardi Gras, but one dish in particular stands out the most; King Cakes.  King Cakes are a big tradition of Mardi Gras.

A plastic baby is baked inside the King Cake and whomever receives the baby in their piece of cake must buy the next King Cake or throw the next party, according to mardigrasday.com.

King Cakes are made of a cinnamon-filled dough in the shape of a hollow circle and usually topped with various colored sugar: purple (representing justice), green (representing faith) and gold (representing power).

Brazilian Carnaval at the Club Nokia/LA Live is taking place on Feb. 25.   Club Nokia’s multi-level dance floor is transformed into a Carnaval party, featuring Carnaval dance, costuming, parading and live Brazilian dance music.  The party starts at 8 p.m. and winds down around 2 a.m..  People can save money by purchasing their tickets ahead of time.

Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years ago to pagan spring and fertility rites.  It is also known as Carnaval and is celebrated in many countries around the world such as Brazil, Venices and in the United States in New Orleans.

In Mardi Gras tradition, let the good times roll!  Or in other words, Laissez les bons temps rouler!