The Mardi Gras is a season is upon us—earlier this year than most. As fortune would have it, winter is a fine time to arouse the spirits and warm the soul. Here are five Mardi Gras celebrations guaranteed to brighten the season. See more celebrations in an article published earlier, “Best Bars To Celebrate Mardi Gras In Minnesota.”

The Best Brunch Of The Year
Jax Café
1928 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
(612) 789-7297
www.jaxcafe.com

Date: Feb. 15, 2015

Special occasions call for an excursion to Jax Café. “We have been doing this for thirty years, and it’s got a buzz like no other brunch,” says Bill Kozlak, the third generation in this family-run restaurant. Jax is foregoing its traditional Valentine’s Day brunch just to accommodate the extra-early Mardi Gras date this year. So don your costume and strut in the door to the live music of a Dixie Land trio. The dining area will be decorated to the hilt with balloons and beads on every table. The wait staff will add the festivities in with their get-ups, as well. So order a Hurricane or a Creole Bloody Mary and start the fun. Bill says you will like the many buffet selections, but don’t miss the Eggs Commander, a “New Orleans twist on Eggs Benedict.”
 

The Bash Before The Ash
Dixie’s on Grand
695 Grand Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105
(651) 222-7345
www.dixiesongrand.com

Date: Feb. 17, 2015

This is Dixie’s trademark holiday celebration. Gorge on the All-You-Can-Eat Mardi Gras Buffet or order from the menu. Choose from buffet items featuring Black Fried Catfish, peel and eat shrimp, popcorn shrimp, mashed potatoes and gravy and the traditional King Cake. Find the baby and you will have good luck all year. Be sure to wear your costume, but there are plenty of party hats and fun beads for everyone. Boogie to the Swamp Kings ‘til closing.

Fasching
The Black Forest Inn
1 East 26th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55404
www.blackforestinnmpls.com

Dates: Feb. 13-17, 2015

Enjoy live music every day throughout Fasching, which is the German version of Mardi Gras. Make your own Carnival mask. Take advantage of the food specials. Every customer gets to sample custom beer and a tasty chocolate sweet. The Black Forest baker has developed a chocolate confection that tastes fantastic with beer. As a result, the restaurant has asked three home brewers to make beers that pair well with chocolate. Furthermore, all day Tuesday, every diner gets a deep fried jelly doughnut, called Krapfen.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Celebrate Mardi Gras All Week
Nola Bistro & Bar
204 Central Ave
Osseo, MN 55369
(952) 334-5805
www.nolamn.com
 
Dates: Feb. 18-21, 2015

Extend your Mardi Gras all week long with the magic of New Orleans, right here in Minnesota. Celebrate Mardi Gras all week culminating on Saturday, February 21 in a Grand Party Mardi Gras. Enjoy a Mardi Gras Inspired Dinner, served every day following Fat Tuesday, with a variety of vegetarian, fish, shrimp, lobster-infused gumbo and special cocktails. Saturday’s bash features a three-course New Orleans meal, perfectly paired wines, festive beads, special prizes, a king cake, a specialty cocktail and desert with brandy or after-dinner liquor. Wear a costume or evening attire and win a prize. The Richard Kronick Quartet will be playing live jazz and blues all evening.

Fasching and Bock Fest
Fasching is sponsored by The Concord Singers
New Ulm Event Center
301 20th St. S
New Ulm, MN 56073
(507) 354-4673
www.concordsingers.com

Dates: Feb. 13-14, 2015

Enjoy the German food and cash bar while you dance to the Johnny Holm Band Friday evening. Come back for more food and spirits as the doors open at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The Wendinger Band plays for a couple hours at noon and 3 p.m. Catch the Concord Singers at 2 and 5 p.m. Wear a costume for fun and prizes at the Parade of Costumes at 6 p.m. Then dance the rest of the evening to IV Play. While you are there, catch the Schell’s Bock Fest held simultaneously in New Ulm.

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.