Mardi Gras merriment shifts into high gear with the first big weekend of parades in New Orleans, plus plenty in Metairie, Mandeville, Covington, Slidell and St. Bernard.


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The Krewe of Pygmalion makes its way through the streets of New Orleans on Saturday, February 11, 2023. The 29-float procession is dedicated to the late Thomas Morrison, Pygmalion’s former parade designer and sculptor. Throws included lighted doubloons and sequined plush pigs. (Photo by Brett Duke, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

There are Carnival parades throughout the weekend and around the greater metropolitan area this weekend. Saturday and Sunday lineups here take into account rescheduled roll times announced Thursday to avoid Saturday's expected bad weather. Weather might cause additional changes so check nola.com for up-to-date times and days. With earlier times just announced, OSHUNCLEOPATRA and ALLA kick off the Uptown parades Friday at 5:30 p.m. EXCALIBUR rolls in Metairie at 7 p.m. and EVE takes to the streets of Mandeville at 7 p.m. Saturday’s roster Uptown includes PONTCHARTRAINLEGION OF MARSCHOCTAW and FRERET rolling in order starting at 9:30 a.m., SPARTAN SOCIETY at 1 p.m.; NEMESIS at 1 p.m. in St. Bernard; and OLYMPIA at the earlier 4 p.m. in Covington. PYGMALION moves to Sunday at 10 a.m., with FEMME FATALECARROLLTON and KING ARTHUR following; DIONYSUS in Slidell at 1 p.m.; and ATLAS rolls two hours earlier, at 2 p.m. in Metairie. MADHATTERS, has changed to follow Atlas.

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Today starts three days of concerts to go along with the Metairie parades for?FAMILY GRAS,?located at Mardi Gras Plaza in the 3300 block of Veterans Memorial Boulevard. The free festival includes such entertainers as Amanda Shaw, Cheap Trick, Amy Grant, The Oak Ridge Boys, Creole String Beans and more, plus loads of food vendors and a kid's court and an art market. VIP packages are available. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Get festive with the family here.

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The comedy '...And the Ball and All' will be onstage this weekend at Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts.

Hey hawt: Head to Kenner's Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts to get a real slice of New Orleans Carnival life when Ricky Graham and company stage his "y'at-tastic"?"...AND THE BALL AND ALL"?for only four performances, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday. The gals with the Krewe of Terpsichore are planning their ball and parade and having a ball doing it. First staged in the 1990s (and set in that period), the show is loads of fun with local lore and plenty of charm. Tickets start at $35 for the show at 325 Minor St., Kenner. Catch up with the krewe and have fun here.

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Head over to the Castine Center in Mandeville's Pelican Park for the?ST. TAMMANY HOME AND REMODELING SHOW?from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Certified Louisiana Food Fest will also be a part of the event. The expo showcases a variety of vendors for building and renovating kitchens, baths, exteriors and more. The food fest highlights products grown, made and manufactured in the state, with tastings, samplings and a chance to purchase products. Tickets start at $6. Grab some ideas for the homefront here.

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Dianne HonorŽ participates in the Congo Square: Drumming for Life drum class for people over the age of 55, in Congo Square in New Orleans, Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

The French Market is the place to be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for the second annual AFRO-CREOLE HERITAGE CELEBRATION, a fête of entertainment and cooking demonstrations, curated in partnership with Dianne Honore (Gumbo Marie). From zydeco to jazz, musical acts include Alexey Marti Quartet, the National Park Service Arrowhead Band and Bo Dollis Jr. and the Wild Magnolias. Cooking demonstrations include Vance Vaucresson, chef Vivian Ray and the Baby Dolls. A variety of community organizations, as well as vendors will be on hand. frenchmarket.org.

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Bavarian cream fills a king cake from Adrian's Bakery in Gentilly, one of the cakes featured at the king cake tasting at Historic New Orleans Collection. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com |  The Times-Picayune)

The Historic New Orleans Collection, 520 Royal St., will have a big bite of Carnival flavor Saturday for?KING CAKE TASTING,?an afternoon of pastry and tunes from the Tremé Brass Band from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Participating bakeries include MadiCakez, NOLA Cookie Co., Adrian’s Bakery, Heavenly Sweets Bakery and B Sweet Bistro. Admission includes 15 king cakes and a drink. Plus, there's a blind tasting for the favorite bakery. Tickets, sold at the door only, are $15 general admission. Take a bite of the flavor of the season here.

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Dante's "Divine Comedy" is the inspiration for NO GRAVITY,?the?Italian performing arts company's show "From Hell to Paradise" playing at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at 6400 Airline Drive in Metairie. The unique blend of theatrical dance and aerial artistry are inspired by centuries of Italian performance and entertainment. Tickets start at $45.?Float into the fun here.

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"CARNIVAL FROM THE GROUND UP" is an outdoor photo exhibit at the New Orleans Jazz Museum that looks at the world of Mardi Gras through 70 images that show the creativity, community and hard work behind the seasonal celebration. Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., photographer Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee and anthropologist Martha Radice will be out at the exhibit on the Decatur Street side of the museum to talk about the exhibit and how it all came together. The museum is located at 400 Esplanade Ave. and the exhibit will remain up through Fat Tuesday.?

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The Mystic Krewe of Barkus parades in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

The city becomes Hound Town Sunday when?THE MYSTIC KREWE OF BARKUS?paws its way through the French Quarter at 2 p.m. for "Barkus & Barbie: Pawsitively Pink." King Bentley Burton Jurgens and Queen Bea Broussard lead the pack that meanders through the Vieux Carré and benefits animal organizations in the Gulf South area. There's a big party at Armstrong Park on Rampart Street before and after the parade. Parade registration starts at $65. Come look at the canine Carnival capers here.


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