Raleigh, N.C. — I'm from New Orleans and I am always a little homesick this time of year. But there isn't any reason why you can't celebrate Mardi Gras in the Triangle!
Fat Tuesday is officially Tuesday, Feb. 9, and I've got a guide for you to enjoy Mardi Gras in the Triangle!
Here's a list of local places offering King Cakes - the official food of carnival season:
Note: I have not found a place that serves an authentic New Orleans King Cake. For one of those, you will need to order from New Orleans. I prefer Haydel's Bakery but there are a ton of options out there.
La Farm Bakery (Cary) - Their bread is awesome! The King Cakes aren't filled, but they are pretty good.
Whole Foods and Lowes Foods (various locations) - Check with the bakery section to find out if you can order one or when they will be available.
Stick Boy Bread Company (Fuquay-Varina) - Haven't had one of their King Cakes yet, but know they do offer them.
Loaf (Durham) - They are serving up some tasty King Cakes this year.
Great Harvest Bread Company (Raleigh) is also taking orders for King Cakes.
Balcazar Bakery (Raleigh) - This International bakery serves up traditional Colombian King Cakes. They are filled with fruit and contain some cream on top. Good, but not like the traditional New Orleans' King Cakes. Much less sugar.
And if you want to try to make a King Cake yourself, try this recipe.
Durham Mardi Gras - This has become the official Mardi Gras celebration in the Triangle. And it grows every year. Starting at CCB Plaza in downtown Durham, the walking parade begins at 7 p.m. and then takes Foster Street to West Geer Street. Following the parade, there will be live music at Motorco, Fullsteam, The Bar Durham, Geer Street Garden, Cocoa Cinnamon and The Pit. The festivities are free!
Carolina Nightlife Mardi Gras Bar Crawl - This Friday night crawl (Feb. 5) takes you to five bars on Fayetteville Street - all for one price and no lines!
Meals on Wheels Fat Tuesday party - This event will feature Cajun cuisine, a parade, music, auctions and entertainment. The party is Tuesday, Feb. 9, starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $150 a person.
Shakedown Mardi Gras party - This party on Friday, Feb. 12, at Lincoln Theatre will feature music from The Shakedown playing songs from The Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and The Meters, among others. They will be joined by Al Strong and his jazz ensemble for a set of New Orleans jazz. Part of the proceeds of the night will go to The Art of Cool Project.
Wake Forest Mardi Gras - The town of Wake Forest will host its annual Mardi Gras Street Festival on Saturday, Feb. 6. The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a walking parade, contests, live music and an inflatable playground. Admission is free.
Mardi Gras Kickoff - This fundraiser for the Cary MacGregor Rotary Club features live music, prizes and food. The party starts at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, at The Atrium. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.