Ideas for Celebrating Mardi Gras in Fayetteville

Mardi Gras isn’t just for folks in New Orleans anymore! Fayetteville has a surprising array of alternative celebration options for anyone on the hunt for their Fat Tuesday fix. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

The annual Fat Saturday Parade of Fools is returning as promised this year, but the fun doesn't stop there! Plenty of businesses in Fayetteville get into the spirit for Mardi Gras, offering themed events and menu items. There's even a new post-parade party in town. Enjoy some cajun-inspired food from our local restaurants, imbibe with a classic Mardi Gras cocktail downtown, find yourself a king cake, or get out and attend a Mardi Gras shindig for the full Fat Tuesday in Fayetteville experience!

Mardi Gras Events



Ultra Suede Celebrates Mardi Gras - Friday, February 17th

George's Majestic Lounge

Fayetteville-based party band Ultra Suede will be putting on a show at George’s Majestic Lounge the Friday before Mardi Gras. Get ready for a heavy dose of revelry and fun – and with the show kicking off at 6:00pm, the festivities are still neatly wrapped up by the end of Happy Hour! Tickets are only $8, available here.


Fat Saturday Parade of Fools
 - Saturday, February 18th

Downtown Fayetteville

The Parade of Fools rolls on, just in time for their 30th birthday! Join the party on Dickson Street and throughout downtown Fayetteville as the much-loved annual parade returns from hiatus. The parade will begin at 2pm, and anyone and everyone is welcome to walk! Learn more details about Fayetteville’s original and oldest Mardi Gras kickoff parade here.


Mardi Gras in the Garden District
 - Saturday, February 18th

Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

The “Krewe of Hortus” at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is rolling out a brand new winter party for the Carnival season! The inaugural “Mardi Gras in the Garden District” will take place in the gardens from 5:30-9:00pm, following the annual Parade of Fools on Dickson Street. Dress in your best for the event, taking place inside the BGO hall and under heated tents! Attendees will feast on a Cajun-inspired buffet dinner, enjoy adult beverages and sparkling waters, treat their ears to music by The Cocktail Club, and play games to win prizes. Tickets available at

Cajun & Creole Restaurants

Cafe Rue Orleans

The ultimate Fayetteville stop for all things authentic New Orleans, Cafe Rue Orleans is a must-taste experience for the purists out there - or anyone that really loves delicious food with a Louisiana flare! Born and raised in New Orleans, Chef Maudie serves up heritage dishes bursting with cajun flavor that have been passed down by her family for generations. Expect to find all the staples here, from crawfish etouffee to beignets and beyond!

Eat My Catfish

Since they pride themselves as having “the most craveable seafood culture” in Northwest Arkansas, it's no big surprise that you can find a few New Orleans style dishes at Eat My Catfish in Fayetteville! This is one the best places in Fayetteville to get reliable crawfish platters and boil buckets for a group - and you won’t regret finding out! They’ve also got Creole shrimp gumbo, po’ boys made with a variety of proteins, and a delicious slate of other seafood options to satisfy your Mardi Gras cravings.

Juicy Tails

Cajun seafood dishes are the star of the show at this Fayetteville restaurant that’s sure to satisfy those Creole cravings! Seafood boils are just a standard menu item here, where you’ll also find a range of po-boys, chowders, and fried fish baskets. Indulge in oysters on the half-shell or add-on some classic Louisiana sides to round out the experience!

Arsaga’s Mill District

While Fayetteville staple Arsaga’s is not what anyone would consider a Cajun restaurant, they have several items on the menu that are certainly in spirit! Try the gumbo, red beans & rice, or fresh oysters paired with a classic and refreshing daiquiri at Arsaga’s Mill District for a taste of New Orleans. They’ve been known to serve up Louisiana cuisine inspired specials, like Risotto Pontchartrain, so keep an eye out for Fat Tuesday offerings!

Other fun options to try: The Ragin’ Cajun at Hammontree’s, Boudin Balls from Southern Food Company, a Catfish Po’ Boy at Bottle Rocket Subs, Pasta Orleans from Cheers at the OPO, or a Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy at Mess Hall 45.

We've Got King Cakes

It’s not Mardi Gras without a king cake! The delectable purple, yellow, and green sweet treat is a classic, and we are fortunate to have the ability to take one home with us right here in Fayetteville. Every year, Cafe Rue Orleans becomes a supplier for the most authentic New Orleans king cakes straight from the source. There are several flavors to choose from, including classic, praline, and bavarian creme. Local favorite Rick’s Bakery bakes their own version, which is available for purchase by the slice or as a full cake, in full, half, or quarter sheets.

Louisiana Libations

While there are a plethora of drinks that scream “New Orleans”, Louisiana locals love a classic daiquiri throughout the carnival season. You can try one for yourself at the Trophy Room (located within The Graduate hotel on the Downtown Square), from long-time locals at Maxine’s on Block, or with an upscale twist at Atlas or Vault. Continue the festivities at home with a DIY Daiquiri with local syrup from Pink House Alchemy!

You can even brew your own Fat Tuesday themed beer with a Mardi Gras Voodoo Saison beer kit. Order online for pickup from North Tunnel Brewing & Supply, located within Boston Mountain Brewing on the Fayetteville Ale Trail.

French-culture lovers, New Orleans natives, and fun-loving people everywhere can enjoy Fat Tuesday festivities throughout the season when they visit - missing out on Bourbon Street doesn’t feel so bad when Mardi Gras comes to you in Fayetteville!

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