Alas, Fat Tuesday is coming up next week, the last official day of the Mardi Gras carnival season. Don't know about you, but we have to work the next day. So in true New Orleans' fashion, let's start the party now — and in some cases stretch it into next weekend.
Mardi Party for Pups
Dig out the shiny beads and tiny masks for your pooch for this Mardi Gras-style costume parade (9:30 a.m.) and paw-tay. You can come, too. Vendors, exhibits, contests and more. Presented by Dunedin Recreation. 8-11 a.m. today. Pioneer Park, Main Street and Douglas Avenue, Dunedin. Free. (727) 738-2920.
Karnival-Mardi Gras Dance
Everybody wants in on the party. This German version of Carnivale features live music by Sepp and Heinz, German food, prizes for best Mardi Gras costumes and the crowning of the German American Society's Prince and Princesses. 6-11:30 tonight. German-American Society, 8098 66th St. N, Pinellas Park. $8, $5 GAS members. (727) 541-6782.
Mardi Gras Mambo featuring the Neville Brothers
There's no one more New Orleans than the Neville Brothers, so it's worth the short drive to Sarasota. With Dr. John and Lower 9-11. 8 p.m. Feb. 28. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. $55-$75. Toll-free (800) 826-9303. vanwezel.org.
Mardi Gras Celebration
The big Mardi Gras party is fueled by Zydeco Zoo dance music, beads, hats, door prizes and lots of Cajun food, including red beans and rice, Jambalaya, fish spread, whiskey bread pudding, crawfish and corn bread. The Web site says costumes are optional, but that's no fun. Gates open at 6 p.m. Zydeco dance lessons begin at 6:30 p.m. 7-11 tonight. Cajun Cafe on the Bayou, 8101 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park. $10. (727) 546-6732. www.cajuncafeonthebayou.com.
Rubonia Mardi Gras Parade and Festival
This annual fun and funky parade in north Manatee county features a bed race! Not sure how that fits this year's theme: "When I'm 64!" The street party has entertainment, food, novelty vendors and Clydesdales. Parade at 2:30 p.m. Benefits the children of Rubonia. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. March 1. Bayshore Road area, in Rubonia community, Palmetto. Free. (941) 722-3403. www.ruboniamardigras.org.
Fat Last Friday Mardi Gras Festival
Fat Friday? Works for us. The outdoor music festival features New Orleans music by Gumbo Boogie. Concert is free but VIP tickets include dinner, beer, wine and hand-rolled cigars. Proceeds benefit the Abilities Foundation, the Wunsch Family Foundation and Pinellas Hope. 6-10 p.m. Feb. 27. Williams Park, Fourth Street and First Avenue N, St. Petersburg. Free, $25 for VIP tickets. (727) 898-8851. lastfridayconcerts.com.
m Mardi Gras on Main Street
Tuesday is the day, so what the heck, go crazy at the annual celebration in downtown Dunedin with live music by Zydeco band Gumbo Boogie (5:30-7:30 p.m.) and the Vodkanauts (9-11 p.m.). Parade begins at 7:30 p.m. and moves along Douglas Avenue, from Beltrees to Monroe. Also, craft vendors and food from area restaurants. 5-11 p.m. Tuesday. Downtown, along Main Street, Dunedin. Free, but food and drinks are extra. (727) 733-3197. delightfuldunedin.com.