When you mention Mardi Gras in St. Louis, most locals think of Soulard, home to one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations outside of New Orleans. The Soulard festivities last for weeks, beginning with Twelfth Night on Jan. 6 and ending with Fat Tuesday, which is on Feb. 13 in 2018. Here are the top events and celebrations during the 2018 Soulard Mardi Gras.
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The Family Winter Carnival on Jan. 20 is a chance for everyone to get into the Mardi Gras spirit. There are live performances, arts and crafts, and a children's parade. The carnival is held at Soulard Market Park, but many of the events are inside a heated tent.
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Wine, Beer and Whiskey Taste
Hurricanes may be the drink of choice during many Mardi Gras events, but Soulard also celebrates with wine, beer, and whiskey. The Mardi Gras Wine, Beer, and Whiskey Taste, where you can check out more than 50 kinds of adult beverages, will be held at Soulard Market Park at the Bud Light Party Centre on Jan. 26 from 7 to 11 p.m. You can buy tickets for $45 in advance or $50 at the door.
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You are sure to get your fill of Cajun and Creole food at the Cajun Cook-Off. Professional and amateur chefs from around the St. Louis area compete in separate categories for the best Cajun or Creole dish. Watch the chefs prepare their dishes, and then settle in for a fantastic Cajun lunch. Everyone who attends gets food and drinks. So save the date: noon to 4 p.m. on Jan. 27. It's $40 in advance and $45 at the door for this tasty event.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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This is a great way to sample food from many of Soulard's best restaurants. Make your way to each restaurant or pub in the Soulard neighborhood from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 3 and 4 and use one of your tickets for a taste of its signature dish. Ticket books are $25 and cover six tastes and one drink.
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It doesn't matter if you have a dog or not, this event is something to see. Organizers are expecting thousands of dogs and their owners to turn out. Many will be decked out in costumes, and others just come to be part of the fun. You can register on the day of the parade, starting at 10 a.m., at 12th Street and Allen Avenue. The parade starts at 1 p.m. on Feb. 4.
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Talk about a dog-eat-dog competition, the annual Wiener Dog Derby pits some of the area's fastest dachshunds against each other. Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. It's clearly more fun than competition, but the derby in Soulard Market Park is always one of the most popular events of the Soulard Mardi Gras. It's happening in 2018 on at 2 p.m. on Feb. 4.
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This masquerade ball in the Rotunda at St. Louis City Hall is the formal event of Mardi Gras and a major social event of St. Louis. Hobnob with St. Louis society for the evening while enjoying dinner, an open bar, and live music from 7 p.m. to midnight on Feb. 9. It costs $150 and up to show up at this A-list gala.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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This is the big event of Mardi Gras, bringing tens of thousands of revelers to the streets of Soulard. It's the biggest Mardi Gras parade except for the Big Daddy in the Big Easy. Krewes spend months building their floats, which will number almost 100 in 2018, hoping to win prizes and bragging rights at the parade. In addition to the floats, there are also marching bands and, of course, millions of beads flying through the air. The parade begins at Busch Stadium, makes its way into the heart of Soulard and ends at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. You can't miss this: It starts at 11 a.m. on Feb. 10.
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The Grand Parade kicks off a whole day of Mardi Gras celebrations in Soulard. Dozens of neighborhood restaurants will be selling food and drinks at outdoor booths and Soulard residents open their homes and host parties of their own. But if you don't know anyone who lives in Soulard, the best and most comfortable way to spend the day partying is to buy a ticket to the Bud Light Party Tent. It's actually two heated VIP tents set up at Soulard Market Park in the heart of the action. Up to 2,000 revelers can enjoy a Cajun-Creole buffet, drinks, and music at this restricted access celebration. Stay warm, dance, eat and drink. Plus, there are restrooms. You just can't beat this. Tickets for the Party Tent are $125 a person and must be purchased in advance. The Party Tent is up and running from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 10.