Celebrations beyond the Bayou

Break out your beads and grab a slice of King cake; carnival season is in full effect not in the Big Easy but in many other parts of the world and of course on TikTok with #MardiGras2023 racking up over 70.8M views. Mardi Gras is synonymous with extravagance, big parties, large crowds, lively parades, colorful masks, and… did we say big parties? Although Mardi Gras itself is a single Tuesday, it’s part of Carnival, a larger celebration of never-ending carousing before the religious season of Lent. Ahead, we’re joining the festivities on this Fat Tuesday, looking at events that capture the party spirit in their unique ways.

Image of the Busch Gardens logo with the text "Mardi Gras" and "Select dates January 14-March 5" with an image of beignets


This year, and running until early March, Busch Gardens has gotten all jazzed up to celebrate with Mardi Gras-style entertainment. The Brass Band will be tooting some tunes with Bourbon Street beats and jazz classics to start the party. Elsewhere in the parks, street parties with stilt walkers and musicians, along with a feast for kings and queens with Mardi Gras-inspired offerings like crawfish etouffee, andouille sausage po' boys, and beignets will be adding to the carnival spirit.

A navy background with the white text quote "When I want excitement, I go to a carnival  because I want to try new things.”

— Akiya, 20, CA (Cassandra Collective)

Purple background with a white Universal Studios logo over the white, yellow, and green Mardi Gras International Flavors of Carnaval logo with icons of a fork, spoon, feathers, maracas, beads, and masks


Universal Studios, Orlando launched its celebrations with its annual Mardi Gras parade, with this year's theme focused on “Mythical Realms of Mardi Gras.” Six new floats made up the theme of fantastical creatures, including dragons, phoenixes, unicorns, serpents, and fairies. In addition to the six new floats, the six traditional New Orleans-inspired floats, like King Gator, make up the parade, where guests of all ages can dance along with high-energy performers and catch beads by the handful during this year’s parade running until April.

Image of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras logo over a black background


Over in the southern hemisphere, Aussies are celebrating the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The parade is the festival's biggest event, featuring 12,500 marchers and over 200 floats. This year, the Mardi Gras event will also be incorporated into Sydney WorldPride 2023 – aka the largest LGBTQ+ event globally. Running until the 5th of March with a blockbuster program of more than 300 events will take place over 17 days.