A weekend loaded with Oak Cliff festivities gets well and truly underway Friday, Feb. 24, with the OCarnivale Masquerade Ball at the Kessler Theater. Live and lively brass bands and other suitable music, dancing, a Cajun dinner followed by King Cake, beads, and all the costumed revelry you can handle.
Try and wake up relatively early the morning after the ball because on Saturday, Feb. 25, it’s time for Dash for the Beads. A 5K or 10K—or, for the running-averse, a costume contest and bead-strewn festival—that begins and ends at Kidd Springs Park, with a route winding through North Oak Cliff, money raised by Dash for the Beads benefits neighborhood schools.
Consider sticking around Oak Cliff for one more day, because the best Mardi Gras parade in town gets rolling down Davis at about 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26. The route begins roughly near Nova, and ends in a fun, family-friendly celebration in the Bishop Arts District. It’s the culmination of a full weekend, and peak Mardi Gras in Dallas. (Less debauched than New Orleans, but just as fun.)
But wait…after the parade and accompanying shindig in Bishop Arts, walk over to the after-party at Wild Detectives, where you can enjoy live music from the Big Ass Brass Band, a backyard bar, and the companionship of your fellow Dallasites.
Maybe the most adorable parade North Texas sees all year is that put on by the Krewe of Barkus in downtown McKinney, which falls this year on Feb. 26. Dogs in masquerade attire are the stars of the parade, but humans are allowed to celebrate Mardi Gras as well. The theme this year is “Barkus Gone Bad — A Salute To Our Favorite Villains,” so cut down that Darth Vader costume for your Chihuahua.
A little friendly gumbo competition ensures you’ll be eating well at KNON’s Mardi Gras Party at Poor David’s Pub on Feb. 26. You’ll also be listening well, with live music from Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band and other zydeco and New Orleans-style performers.
On Fat Tuesday (02/28) Itself
All the crawfish and jambalaya you can fit, face-painting, music, and a photo wagon for Mardi Craw at The Rustic.
It’s a NOLA-style Fat Tuesday party at Sundown at Granada, with low-price jambalaya, drink specials, and free live music from Club Wood.
How big is the Fat Tuesday party at Gas Monkey? Texas size.