Celebrate Mardi Gras in West Virginia


You don’t need to travel to New Orleans to toss festive beads and feast on king cake. Celebrate Mardi Gras right here in the Mountain State!

Fat Tuesday, which falls this year on Feb. 13, is the day before Ash Wednesday — the first day of Lent for Western Christian churches. Because it occurs the day before the Lenten fast begins, the occasion, for many, is a time for merriment and, of course, eating. In the French language, Fat Tuesday is translated as Mardi Gras.

French Quarter in Almost Heaven

Mardi Gras Casino & Resort captures that festive French Quarter feel, from its purple, green and yellow color scheme to its 24 hours of nonstop entertainment. Try your luck at slots, poker or greyhound racing, then fuel up at one of several restaurants, with offerings ranging from elegant cuisine to casual fare. Afterwards, you can enjoy drink specials and dance the night away at one of half a dozen bars at the resort. And when you’re ready to call it a night, resort rooms are within walking distance of all the fun. While you’re feasting, be sure to leave room for dessert! At 1 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, the resort will host a beignet eating contest. This heavenly treat from the French Quarter is eaten hot and consists of fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Meanwhile, Buddy’s All American BBQ in Huntington is hosting its own Mardi Gras celebration. The event features drink specials, Bourbon Street-inspired jazz music and mouth-watering Cajun-style grub like jambalaya, fried shrimp po boys, catfish po boys and Gambino’s King Cake.

A Slice of King Cake

But what exactly is a king cake, anyway? The king cake tradition was brought to New Orleans from France in the 1800s. This ring-shaped frosted sweet roll is made of rich brioche dough and fillings like cinnamon, chocolate or cream cheese. It’s drizzled with a creamy glaze and sprinkled with the royal colors of Mardi Gras: purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power.

The star of this cake, however, is its prize: a tiny plastic baby hidden within the cake. It’s said that whoever finds the baby in his or her slice of cake will be crowned the king or queen of Mardi Gras. (But even without the crown, you’re sure to have good luck!) You can bake this cake yourself, or order one from select West Virginia bakeries like Shepherdstown Sweet Shop, River and Rail Bakery in Huntington or Starlings Coffee and Provisions in Charleston.

How do YOU plan to celebrate Mardi Gras in West Virginia?

This post was last updated on July 31, 2020