Mardi Gras celebrations are rapidly approaching and Cal State Fullerton students won’t have to travel far to find an authentic New Orleans experience.
Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is a traditional celebration that takes place on the Tuesday before the Lenten season.
In New Orleans, the festivities last several days and are filled with food, parades, street performers, jazz music and copious amount of beads.
Mardi Gras falls on Feb. 12 this year and although Fullerton is far from “The Big Easy,” students can find entertainment only minutes from campus.
Bourbon Street bar and grill in downtown Fullerton is hosting its annual “Mardi Gras for Autism” festival Feb. 29 that benefits local children and autism programs.
Bourbon Street take over two parking lots outside of the restaurant from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The festival is open to all ages.
The event will feature street performers such as stilt walkers and fire jugglers, as well as face painting and an aquarium touch tank.
There will also be live performances from the CF Dance Academy, a performing arts education center in Orange County, and the Dixidelics, a local jazz band.
The festival also boasts special appearances from UFC fighters and an anti-bullying tent hosted by local tattoo artists who will custom decorate a hat for anyone who stops by.
Hot dogs and desserts will also be available for those attending the event.
Organizers are expecting more than 2,000 people at the festival and suggest getting there early to ensure entry.
Students can also sign up to volunteer for the event by going to the “Mardi Gras for Autism” Facebook page and contacting the organizers.
Entry into the festival is free and all money spent at booths goes to local autism programs in the Fullerton School District.
Those ages 21 and older can head inside Bourbon Street and toast to Fat Tuesday, Feb. 12, with a traditional Hurricane drink, live music and no shortage of Mardi Gras beads.
There will be a $5 cover charge. Proceeds will also go to local autism programs.
Disneyland is also getting in on the Mardi Gras action with its “New Orleans Bayou Bash” in New Orleans Square from Feb. 8 through Feb. 12
The bash includes jazz, street performers and New Orleans food stations. The Royal Street Bachelors and the Jambalaya Jazz Band will perform throughout each day.
The bash also includes a Mardi Gras celebration with Princess Tiana along with characters from The Princess and the Frog.
Visitors can join in the fun with meet and greet with the characters and a traditional Mardi Gras procession called a “second line.” ’The second line is a New Orleans tradition which includes umbrella dancers, musicians and street performers.
Just outside Disneyland Park, Downtown Disney houses Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Flambeaux’s Jazz Club.
Here, guests can eat traditional New Orleans style dishes and listen to lively jazz music any day of the week.
There will be a Mardi Gras party from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 12.
The House of Blues in Downtown Disney also boasts a New Orleans-style menu and a Big Easy atmosphere.
Guests can dine on cajun dishes while listening to smooth jazz and blues music.
For those looking for a more low-key local Mardi Gras celebration, any night of the week, Steamers Cafe in downtown Fullerton welcomes its usual lineup of jazz performers.
Mardi Gras is a New Orleans celebration that stretches all across the country.
All of the jazz, entertainment, food and beads are within reach for any CSUF student looking for a true Fat Tuesday celebration this year.