Five festive Mardi Gras parades and parties

Photo by Phil Kampel Photography
Element Brass Band leads a second line parade through midtown.

This week, the Big Easy comes to the River City, so here are five festive ways to celebrate Mardi Gras, including second line parades, masquerades and dance parties where you can let the good times roll.

Mardi Gras Parade & Masquerade Ball

Feb. 25 The lights will dim as the music cranks up at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center’s fifth annual masquerade ball in historic downtown Nevada City. The Deadbeats, a Grateful Dead cover band, and Nevada City’s Sgt. Funky will keep the party rockin' while you sip drinks at the bar and nosh on salmon cakes, crawfish mac-and-cheese and other Cajun dishes provided by The Levee in Placerville. $25. 8-11:55 p.m. 325 Spring St. Nevada City. 530-265-5040.

Mardi Gras at The Porch Restaurant and Bar

Feb. 25 March alongside fellow revelers and show off your brightest bead necklaces during The Porch’s 6th annual Mardi Gras parade. The fun begins at 15th and K streets at Capitol Garage and ends a few blocks later at The Porch, which will be bumping with jazz from Sacramento's Crescent Katz band. The bar will serve up Southern tipples like the citrusy hurricane cocktail while the kitchen turns out plates of Lowcountry food straight out of ‘New Awlins’ like popcorn crawfish, fried green tomatoes and muffuletta sandwiches. Parade begins at 2:15 p.m. at Capitol Garage (1500 K St.) and ends with a party at The Porch (1815 K St.) 444-2423.

Old Sacramento will go to the dogs for the Mardi Paws Parade. (Photo courtesy of Old Sacramento)

Mardi Gras Crawl

Feb. 25 Dance to all that jazz in Old Sacramento for its annual nighttime Mardi Gras celebration, which will transform the area into a party worthy of Bourbon Street. Local bars and restaurants like Fanny Ann’s Saloon, O’Mally’s Irish Pub, Joe’s Crab Shack and River City Saloon will host bands and performers on their front boardwalks, and you can stop inside for an official crawl map and drinks made with Louisiana’s Bayou Rum. Peer into your future during a tarot card reading outside of Evangeline’s or dance along to the beat of a Brazilian drum line, which will be playing throughout the evening in the spirit of Fat Tuesday. Free. Feb. 25. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Old Sacramento.

Mardi Gras Second Line Parade

Feb. 28 A New Orleans tradition graces Sacramento's streets during this second line parade, led by the city’s hip-hop infused Element Brass Band and blues and swing singer Peter Petty, along with local blues singer-songwriter Dana Moret. The second line kicks off on 19th street at Mulvaney’s Building & Loan and will make stops at The Porch Restaurant and Bar, Kasbah Lounge, and Easy on I, ending at The Torch Club with a party headlined by San Francisco-based Brazilian funk band Boca do Rio. Parade begins at 4:30 p.m. at 1215 19th St.

Mardi Paws Parade

Mar. 4 The dog days are just getting started in Old Sacramento, where you can bring Fido or Fifi to the historic district’s first Mardi Gras event for pets. The parade kicks off on the corner of Neasham Circle and Front Street at 11 a.m. and will feature four-legged friends (dogs, cats and even llamas are welcome!) in costumes riding on floats. It finishes in Old Sacramento State Historic Park, where you can stick around to watch a training demonstration from the Sacramento Police Department’s K9 Unit, visit a reptile showcase from the Northern California Herpetological Society, and learn about pet-focused services like Wag Hotels’ doggie daycare. Free for spectators. $15-$40 for parade registration. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Parade begins at 11 a.m. at the corner of Neasham Cir. and Front St. 808-7387.

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