If swinging a ticket to New Orleans this week isn’t in the cards, don’t worry. You can still celebrate Mardi Gras — also known as Fat Tuesday — right here in South Jersey. While we can’t guarantee displays of half-naked people catching beads thrown from balconies, we can guarantee a good time. Here are six ways to celebrate Fat Tuesday right here in South Jersey.
1. Get your fish fry on. You can’t watch the band James Day & The Fish Fry without thinking of New Orleans, and that’s not just because of their name. Day, a native Louisianan, embodies New Orleans, from his natural storytelling style to the tunes he plays. He’ll bring a Mardi Gras Mambo Show to the Lizzie Rose Music Room 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show. Located at 217 E. Main Street in Tuckerton. Go to LizzieRoseMusicRoom.com for more information.
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2. Satisfy your inner Cajun. For all the spicy goodness associated with Cajun food, head to Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar for its annual Cajun Festival. With classics such as jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish ettouffee and fried catfish — along with Cajun sides, Southern desserts and New Orleans-style cocktails like the Sazerac and Pimm’s Cup — you’ll hardly remember you’re in New Jersey. The festival begins Friday, Feb. 9, and lasts until Monday, Feb. 19. Get there at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, on Mardi Gras night for beads galore, or at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, for live Dixieland jazz with Franny Smith, Bob Ferguson, Tom Angelo and the rest of the A.C. New Orleans Jazz Band. Located at 900 Shore Road in Somers Point. Go to GregorysRestaurantandBar.LetsEat.at for more information.
3. Rock out at the point. Check out Greate Bay Country Club on Tuesday, Feb. 13, for a Mardi Gras celebration of Dixieland music, New Orleans food, dancing and masking — with a magician, stilt walker and face painters just to keep things lively — sponsored by the South Jersey Jazz Society. The event features a contest for best mask and a reunion of the Showboat All-Star Dixieland Band featuring Ms. Andrea “Pearl” Pinkett and a sumptuous New Orleans buffet dinner. Tickets are $45 per person or $80 per couple. Located at 901 Mays Landing Road in Somers Point. Go to SouthJerseyJazz.org for more information.
4. Kick off Carnaval. Looking for a rousing good time? You can find one at Cuba Libre in The Quarter of Tropicana at its annual La Mega’s Carnaval10:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9. With DJ Bad Boy and DJ B3BO, as well as a trip giveaway, it will be an epic Mardi Gras kickoff. If that’s not enough, head back at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday for the “Carnaval: Rio in the Quarter” party, complete with DJs, dancers, a percussionist, stilt walker and a special Carnival Midnight Madness celebration. Located at 2801 Pacific Ave. in Atlantic City. Go to CubaLibreRestaurant.com for more information.
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5. Rev up for a raclette dinner. Need a little cheese with your Mardi Gras beads? Head to Southwind Vineyard in Millville for a its annual Mardi Gras party complete with a raclette dinner. Tickets are $40 and include light hors d’oeuvres, the raclette dinner, beads, a mask, dessert and a glass of wine. Located at 385 Lebanon Road in Millville. Go to SouthwindVineyardLLC.com for more information.
6. Celebrate a culinary genius. Honor Chef Paul Prudhomme on Tuesday, Feb. 13, with a Cajun-Creole dinner with paired wine selections at the Atlantic City Country Club. Executive Chef Ed Daggers and Sommelier Bill Bruno will be on hand to explain each dish. Enjoy selections like crawfish pie, Cajun sunburst salad, shrimp etouffee and more. Reservations are $125 per person. To make a reservation call 609-236-4400. Located at 1 Leo Fraser Drive, Northfield.