Honolulu Celebrates Mardi Gras

On “Fat Tuesday,” February 24, Nuuanu Avenue transforms into a whirl of percussion, samba and smiles. Parades with floats, samba dancers and Brazilian percussion groups will march thru the crowds on this historic street at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. as the Honolulu Culture & Arts District presents “Mardi Gras – Carnaval 2009.” The event, now in its ninth year, showcases authentic Carnaval culture with food, music and dance from New Orleans, Brazil, Cuba and beyond (don’t miss Du Vin’s King Cake, or Murphy’s Alligator Chili).

Three stages will be set up along Nuuanu Ave.: Pauahi St. outside ARTS at Marks, at Hotel St. outside Louis Pohl Gallery, and near King St. outside Tea@1024. Headline entertainers include rising star Dj Sabo from New York (Brazilian Beats) and hardline N’Awlins funk from Delta Skelta with DeShannon Higa and David Choy making a righteous horn section.

There will be a craft fair along Hotel Street, with tattoos, jewelry, gourmet bread and beads galore. Nearly all the art galleries stay open too, and you don’t want to miss free malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery (courtesy Target).

The event is free, and runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and beyond. There will be several after parties to choose from at Indigo, Epic, Next Door, and the drinks will flow all night at O’Tooles, Murphys and JJ Dolans. There’s even a pre-party option: Du Vin hosts the Alliance Francaise dinner and wine tasting early that evening. Sign up at www.afhawaii.org.

And don’t forget to dress up! Costume contestants join the float parade at 9 p.m., then strut the King Street stage for great prizes. Wear a mask, too, and who knows what you might find yourself doing. After all, you’re heading for 40 days of temperance. Don’t you deserve a fling?

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