You don’t have to wait until Fat Tuesday to enjoy the music, dancing, food and festivities of Mardi Gras! From Feb 1-3, the city of Bastrop is holding a variety of fun and exciting events during its inaugural celebration of the cultural traditions of Louisiana.

“Bastrop TX Mardi Gras” will honor the folklife of Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, in this cultural exchange event. Residents from the central Louisiana parish will be on hand to take part in the jubilant celebration of Cajun culture. We’ve put together a brief description of the Bastrop event schedule, so get ready to laissez les bons temps rouler! (“Let the good times roll!”)

FEB. 1


Mardi Gras music kicks off at the Farm Street Opry at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1. Held at the Bastrop Convention & Exhibit Center, the family-friendly entertainment will feature the Cajun sounds of Jean-Pierre & The Zydeco Angels and Sister Sue, as well as the Farm Street Opry Band. Arrive at the Center at 5:30 p.m. and enjoy dinner concessions, then get ready to dance the night away. Admission is $7.50 cash at the door; children 10 and under are admitted free.

FEB. 2


The Bastrop Convention & Exhibit Center will also host the Taste of Mardi Gras Ball from 7-11 p.m. on Feb. 2. You’ll be able to indulge in a variety of Creole- and Cajun-flavored hors d’oeuvres, from sweet to spicy and everything in between. And no ball – especially a Mardi Gras ball – would be complete without lively music. The Johnathans and Jean-Pierre and the Zydeco Angels will make sure that the night is a memorable one.

FEB. 3

Let’s hope you got a good night’s sleep on Feb. 2, because Feb. 3 is jam-packed with all kinds of fun activities and events.


Get your day cooking as the inaugural Gumbo Cook-Off begins at 8 a.m. along Water and Pine streets in downtown Bastrop. Judging starts at noon with entrants vying for cash awards, trophies and bragging rights. Attendees at the event can purchase a tasting wrist ban for $10 and vote for the People’s Choice Award for best gumbo. The event benefits the nonprofit Bastrop County Care’s Nourish Coalition.


There’s no need to drive to Mamou, Louisiana, to honor Fred’s Lounge, the town’s legendary bar. Gracie’s in downtown Bastrop will host the Salute to Fred’s Lounge, featuring Cajun vibes and lively music, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free event will be broadcast on KVPI-AM Radio, so make sure to arrive early for all the fun.


For many, Mardi Gras parades are the best part of the festivities. Featuring colorful costumes and creatively designed floats, the Mardi Gras Parade entrants will partake in the historic tradition of tossing throws (necklaces), along with candy, cups and more. The family-friendly procession kicks off at 10 a.m. in downtown Bastrop. The Evangeline Parish Tourist Commission will be on hand with stories and traditions to share.


The Mardi Gras celebration will go full-blown Cajun and Zydeco with a music lineup sure to get you dancing. The Music Main Stage, held at Main and Pine streets, kicks off free concerts at 10:30 a.m. with Barney Sledge & Jeff Haney, followed by Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys at noon, Jamie Bergeron & The Kickin’ Cajuns at 2 p.m. and Jean-Pierre & The Zydeco Angels at 4 p.m. DJ T-Rob will entertain the crowd in between each of the music acts.


Oh, to be a kid again! Children will pass a good time (Cajun expression meaning to have fun) with activities such as face-painting, bounce houses, storytelling, interactive music and more in downtown Bastrop.

Starting at noon, youngsters can experience the magic of the Courir de Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras run), playfully chasing chickens in true Cajun tradition. The Little Courirs Chicken Chase, held in the fenced yard at Ascension Catholic Church, is based on the Cajun tradition dating back to medieval times, when costumed men on horseback traveled through the Louisiana countryside in search of ingredients – especially chickens – for a communal gumbo. The activity symbolized the community sharing and coming together.

From 1 to 4 p.m. at the Bastrop Public Library, the whole family – particularly children – can take part in a Music Instrument Petting Zoo. Presented by Louisiana Folkroots, the event provides kids hands-on interactions with a variety of toy and authentic musical instruments, providing a closeup look at traditional Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco music.

Highlighting the event will be a concert by Steve Riley & the Riley Family Band from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. A master of the Cajun accordion, Riley will be performing with his sons, who both play a variety of musical instruments.


A number of Bastrop establishments will be featuring a scrumptious selection of Cajun and Creole specials in honor of the Mardi Gras celebration. Restaurants, bars, breweries, tasting lounges, bakeries and food vendors will dazzle you with everything from beignets, etouffee and muffulettas to King cake cupcakes and cheesecake, as well as Mardi Gras-style specialty drinks.


Other events in Bastrop during February include a King Cake Baking Contest for adults and children. Open to the public, entrants should drop off their cakes from 8:30 to 9 a.m. on Feb. 3 at Calvary Episcopal Church Parish Hall in Bastrop. The cakes will be judged in two categories – adults and children age 12 and younger – and evaluated based on appearance, texture and taste. After the parade, the doors will be open for the public to enjoy the treats and hot cider.

The Lost Pines Center is presenting a Mardi Gras-themed art show titled “L’Esprit de la Louisiane.” The collection of works portray the culture of Mardi Gras and Louisiana. In addition to meeting some of the artists from 6 to 8 p.m., blues performer Todd Roth will perform at 6 p.m. Admission to the “Art After Dark” exhibit is free.

Jazz takes center stage during two events this month. From 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 3 at the Lumberyard Music Hall, The Bastrop Jazz Alliance will present “First Saturday Jazz Night,” featuring The Juan Rangel Trio. Joining saxophonist Juan Rangel on stage will be bassist James Smith and drummer Steve Garza. A $10 donation is suggested.

Wrapping up Bastrop’s Mardi Gras festivities is a free Fat Tuesday celebration from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 13. Held at Calvary Episcopal Church, the third annual party will start with a parade down Main Street, followed by a performance featuring the Jason McKenzie Jazz Quartet and pancakes for everyone!


Enjoying all of the Mardi Gras festivities Texas-style means you’ll need a place to rest your head, and Bastrop has numerous lodging options. From lake and RV parks to inns and luxury resorts, you’ll find the ideal spot to make this a perfect weekend. So make your plans, pack your bags and get ready to celebrate at Bastrop’s extravaganza!