Seven festive ways to celebrate Mardi Gras throughout the region

Instagram photo by @voodoojones13
Mardi Gras drinks will be flowing at The Porch in midtown.

New Orleans might be the city most famous for its Mardi Gras celebrations, but Sacramento will also let the good times roll with its own slew of bar crawls, parades and parties in the spirit of Fat Tuesday, which falls on Feb. 13 this year. Here are seven festive ways to live it up.

Brazilian Carnaval

Feb. 10 Shake your tail feather during this annual spring bonanza put on by the Brazilian Center for Cultural Exchange, which will feature drumming demos by the local Brazilian group Água de Beber and the center’s own Mistura Brasileira, as well as the funky beats of Santa Cruz-based band SambaDá. This year’s festival, which is free, bears the theme “Carnaval of the Arts,” and will host an exhibit of works by local creatives and an art auction. Attendees can taste traditional Brazilian foods like feijoada (black bean stew) and coxinhas (chicken dumplings), and sip on caipirinhas, the South American country’s cousin to the margarita made with lime, sugar and cachaça. Youngsters can visit the kids’ area to get their faces painted or make their own Carnaval masks. Free. 5 p.m. E. Claire Raley Studios for the Performing Arts. 2420 N St.

Mardi Gras at The Porch Restaurant and Bar

Feb. 10 Don your brightly colored feathers and beads and march along to the beat of Sacramento jazz band Crescent Katz as they lead the Lowcountry cuisine restaurant’s seventh annual parade through downtown and midtown, beginning at Capitol Garage and ending at The Porch, where you can nosh on Southern fixings like jambalaya, king cake and beignets filled with chocolate and praline, and sip tipples like Sazeracs and Vieux Carré (aka New Orleans-style whiskey cocktails). Free for parade. Parade begins at 2:15 p.m. at Capitol Garage (1500 K St.) and ends with a party at The Porch (1815 K St.). 916-444-2423.

Mardi Gras Festival Crawl

Feb. 10 Old Sacramento will turn into Bourbon Street this Saturday night. Pick up a pub crawl map and strands of beads at 2nd and K streets, then head out to local bars like O’Mally’s Irish Pub, Sports Corner Cafe, SacTown Sports Bar and Fanny Ann's Saloon, which will be serving up specialty cocktails made with Stoli vodka and hosting local bands to keep the party going throughout the evening. Free. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Old Sacramento. 916-442-8489.

Mardi Gras Second Line Parade

Feb. 13 Skip out of work early on Fat Tuesday and head to Mulvaney’s B&L, where this fifth annual Big Easy-style parade through the streets of midtown will begin. Led by Sacramento’s hip-hop-infused Element Brass Band, the colorful procession will gather crowds on its way to The Porch Restaurant, then head to the Easy on I eatery, and finish up at The Torch Club for a night of festivities, specialty hurricane cocktails and music by local Americana blues artist JT Lawrence Git Down. Free for parade. 4:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Parade begins at Mulvaney’s B&L (1215 19th St.) and ends at The Torch Club (904 15th St.). 916-443-2797.

Beer, Bourbon and Gumbo Fest

Feb. 17 This inaugural family-friendly Mardi Gras bash will take up all three floors of downtown Sacramento’s historic Pagoda Building, which will be transformed into a French Quarter festival for the evening with a costume contest, craft beer, bourbon and gumbo. The Phonotone Orchestra will play jazz and syncopated dance songs from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s as you meet a mystic fortune teller, sit for a caricature portrait and mingle with the event’s Mardi Gras king and queen. Kids can get their faces painted with glittery masks, hop into a selfie booth and play carnival games like a beanbag toss. $10-$60. 1-5 p.m. The Pagoda Building. 429 J St. 321-236-0520.

Mardi Gras Parade

Feb. 18 You’ll be dancing in the streets when Nevada City’s Mardi Gras parade takes over the town’s historic Broad Street for its 26th year. Head down early and get in the spirit with a Cajun-Creole-style breakfast at Ike’s Quarter Cafe—think N’awlins frittata with prawns, andouille sausage, caramelized onions and chili cream sauce, and an oyster Benedict with cornmeal-crusted sautéed oysters, poached eggs, grits, cornbread and Creole hollandaise—then get your sparkly beads and feathered masks at the street fair before the parade starts at 2 p.m. Bystanders can expect to see a cavalcade of floats and acts like SambaDrop. Free for parade and festival. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Downtown Nevada City. 530-265-2692.

Brazilian Carnaval at Old Sugar Mill

March 3 Keep the Mardi Gras spirit going into March at this sixth annual fête at Old Sugar Mill, where you can pick up complimentary beads and a glass of sangria-like punch and take free samba and Lambada dance classes. Once you've got the moves down, head to the dance floor lit with black lights, where San Diego’s Brazilian Dance Company, Santa Cruz-based band SambaDá and Brazilian bossa nova singer Fabiana Passoni will take the stage. Old Sugar Mill will be pouring vino from Clarksburg Wine Company and you can fuel up on food truck fare from Cecil’s Taste, Gyro King and Cousins Maine Lobster. $22 in advance; $30 at the door. 6 p.m.-12 a.m. Old Sugar Mill. 35265 Willow Ave. Clarksburg. 916-744-1615.

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