DEADWOOD | The Northern Hills will feel a little more southern this weekend.
Grab your favorite mask and party beads and head to Deadwood for its annual Mardis Gras festival on Feb. 9-10. Among the festivities are a parade, authentic Cajun food, Mardi Gras royalty and two nights of live music that will transform an old West mining town into the French Quarter.
A Christian holiday and pop culture phenomenon, Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, is most famously celebrated in New Orelans. Deadwood's celebration falls during the most popular time to visit New Orleans.
A news release from the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce said the annual event is a popular one, and draws larger crowds each year. All of the weekend's festivities, from the food to the music to the parade, are free to attend, sponsored by the chamber.
The party starts at 6 p.m. Friday, with the Cajun Feast. Styled as a "progressive menu," diners will travel from to different restaurants for different courses, including appetizers, a main course and dessert.
Appetizers and soup are available at Mineral Palace, Nugget Saloon, Saloon No. 10, Buffalo Bodega and Eagle Bar & Steakhouse, while the main course will be available at the Gold Dust, Tin Lizzie, Deadwood Mountain Grand and Deadwood Winery.
Menus will be available on deadwood.com/event/mardi-gras. The Historic Franklin Hotel will serve dessert, and host the Masquerade Party that starts at 8 p.m. and will include live music by Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble. During the party, the Mardi Gras King and Queen will be crowned. This year's royalty were voted on via the Historic Deadwood Facebook page.
On Saturday, the Cajun cook-off competition lasts from 1 to 4 p.m. at various spots throughout Deadwood, with samples available for the public. At 7 p.m., line up on Deadwood's Main Street for the annual parade where more than 100,000 sets of beads will "fly off the floats," according to the chamber.
Cash and prizes will be awarded for parade entries in six categories: Best Overall, Best Mardi Gras Theme, Best Lights, Mayors Choice, Best Business and Community Spirit.
To wrap up the weekend, Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble will perform again at 9 p.m. at the Historic Franklin Hotel on Main Street.