Back for its second year and expanding the festivities to two weeks, the Northside Mardi Gras began specials on Wednesday, February 15 and will have a kickoff event tonight, Thursday, February 16 at Stage AE with George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic celebrating Mardi Gras Madness.

Cody Walters, the Northside Leadership Conference main street director, said over 40 different events will take place during the two week celebration that include different food and drink specials, as well as retail specials. Some of the participants include Casellula and the Bookstore @ Alphabet City, as well at City Books, Huszar, Allegheny Elks Lodge, Farmer’s Daughter, and James Street Gastropub. At Farmer’s Daughter, if customers go in and mentioned Mardi Gras, they will get 10% off their purchase.

Venues are allowed to create their own spin on the Mardi Gras Celebration. Last year, Huszar celebrated Hungarian traditions, while James Street served up the more traditional New Orleans jazz ensembles throughout the week. Walters said Alphabet City plans on having jazz nights as well this year.

The culmination of Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday, February 28 will take place at the Allegheny Elks Lodge, 400 Cedar Ave., where current Mardi Gras King Rick Sebak will hand over his crown and scepter to the new king, Randy Gilson of Randyland.

Walters said the entrance fee will be $10 at the door and doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m.  on Fat Tuesday, February 28. King cake will be available for purchase and any attendees with a ticket stub from the George Clinton show will receive a free piece of cake. The cake this year will be created by both Priory Fine Pastries and Chateau Café and Cakery. There will be music by Dixie Doc and the Pittsburgh Dixieland All-stars.

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