Mardi Gras in Las Vegas

Photo by Osie Turner
Photo by Osie Turner

Living in Las Vegas definitely comes with its perks. In a way, New Orleans is like a sister city to Vegas, both enjoy a reputation for throwing some of the best parties around the country. Mardi Gras is probably the biggest and wildest celebrations and can only truly be experienced in its home town.

The Howlin' King Crawdad band on stage.Photo by Osie Turner
The Howlin’ King Crawdad band on stage.
Photo by Osie Turner

Not everyone can make it to Nola for the festival though, or would rather sit out such a large-scale bash. However, we did have our own little taste of the Big Easy right here in Vegas over the weekend. The third annual Mardi Gras Vegas kicked off the beginning of lent last Saturday, February 6 at the Springs Preserve.

Photo by Osie Turner

Photo by Osie Turner

The best part of the festival had to be the band. Howlin’ King Crawdad played live on the amphitheater’s main stage the entire day and they really knocked the roof off the place, figuratively speaking. The classic Cajun tunes sounded straight off the streets of Vieux Carré at times and conjured mental images of the bayou at others. Their performance alone was certainly worth the cost of admission.

The stilted juggling jester entertaining a baby.Photo by Osie Turner
The stilted juggling jester entertaining a baby.
Photo by Osie Turner

The other big draw to the event was the food. This was the place to get some of the best New Orleans staples outside of Louisiana. The shrimp po’ boys and the chicken gumbo both seemed authentic and were quite popular. The selections were a bit more limited than one would’ve expected though, for instance jambalaya and the very spicy food Louisiana is known for were nowhere to be found. Of course it wouldn’t be a Mardi Gras party without Hurricanes; they looked good, but this festival-goer had to abstain and so cannot vouch for their taste.

Some of the catering was at the rear of the park.Photo by Osie Turner
Some of the catering was at the rear of the park.
Photo by Osie Turner

This was a very family-friendly event. There was a face painting booth for children, a small game area for them to play, and plenty of characters about to entertain them. A stilted juggling jester inspired awe in the young children when they laid eyes on him. Naturally, a few were initially afraid of him, but that all vanished once they realized he was as friendly as could be and quickly brought smiles to their faces with his antics.

A scene from the shops on the festival grounds.Photo by Osie Turner
A scene from the shops on the festival grounds.
Photo by Osie Turner

The festival felt a little confined within the amphitheater area, however. The layout could have been a little better and it was a little disappointing that entry to the event did not include access to the preserve area. Each attraction was great, but a less congested layout would have improved the event overall.

All in all, the Mardi Gras Vegas festival was a great way to spend the afternoon. A great live band, delicious creole food, and mild temperatures—what more could you ask for? It was a great way to celebrate the things we all love about the Big Easy and refreshing that the event organizers understood that the best part of Mardi Gras is the city it takes place in and that it is not simply a day of drunken debauchery. The food music, and culture of New Orleans is what we love about it, and that is what this year’s Mardi Gras Vegas celebration was all about. Anyone that loves New Orleans should definitely mark their calendars for next year’s Mardi Gras Vegas!

The Springs Preserve is located at 333 S Valley View Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89107. Admission to the Mardi Gras Vegas 2016 event was $6.00 (children 2 and under free) and it went from noon to 6 p.m.


3 responses on “Mardi Gras in Las Vegas

  1. I would just like to thank Osie Turner for his fine review of my band Howlin’ King Crawdad…I just read this today and I do appreciate his comments….We enjoyed playing the Springs Reserve Mardi Gras and look forward to doing it again next year….If you cannot wait we play the first Sunday of each month at Saddle N Spurs Saloon at 2333 no. Jones in LV….thanks again

  2. You are very welcome, George! I am glad you found the article. I will try to make it to one of your shows; you guys put on a great show at the festival, so I’m sure you sound even better at smaller venue.


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