Your guide to Mardi Gras Columbia 2024

Don’t sweat it if you can’t make it down to the bayou — you can celebrate Mardi Gras right here, 680 miles away from the French Quarter.

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The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. and goes through the Rosewood neighborhood. | Photo by COLAtoday

Mardi Gras is Tuesday, Feb. 13, and while Columbia might not be as bustling as New Orleans on Fat Tuesday (or the week-long celebration leading up to it), the Soda City still knows how to party.

The 14th annual Mardi Gras Columbia Festival is happening Saturday, Feb. 10 at City Roots Farm. We asked the Krewe de Columbi-Ya Yas for a few festival tips. Here’s what they said:

Krewe de Columbi-Ya Ya’s pro tips

  • You can’t miss the free parade. (Tom Hall never wanted to do the festival without the parade.) Good spots to post up are along Rosewood in front of Publix — a good spot for kids to catch beads — and by Sour & Salt Bakery, who will be selling King Cakes this year. Bonus: the end of the parade (near City Roots + Hunter Gatherer hangar) is really fun to witness around 11:30 a.m.
  • Dress in all the purple, gold, and green you can find, but leave the feather boas and glitter at home. (City Roots is an organic farm, and feathers shed, get in the plantings, and are generally hard to clean up.)
  • If you’re 21+, bring money to purchase beer/wine tokens — the only way to buy booze at the festival. One token is $6 and buys you one beer or wine. Make sure to try the Louisiana-based Abita beer, and please remember to drink responsibly.
  • Bring a folding chair to relax in for the day, or to take a temporary break from all the dancing. (Strollers are also allowed) Just leave outside food, alcohol, and coolers at home.
  • Buy your ticket online in advance at to save time in line! If you purchased a ticket online, you can head straight to the Will-Call line, which is usually shorter than the Cash and Credit lines. Look for the signage.
  • New this year is a food vendor dining area with designated tables and chairs, meaning it’ll be easier than ever to find a place to sit and enjoy all the Cajun- and Carolinas-inspired foods.
  • We are a fully volunteer-run festival, and after the Krewe sets aside funds to throw the next year’s festival, we give as much money as we can away to local nonprofits (animal’s and women’s causes are especially close to our hearts). All that considered, please be patient with us and consider tipping the Krewe at the beer and wine stations.
  • Have a great time. That’s what our Krewe is all about.

Here’s some more info on Saturday’s festival.


Festivities kick off with a free parade throughout the Rosewood District from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. This is free for all to participate in or view.

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The day is filled with live music. | Photo by COLAtoday

Live music

    Live music kicks off at 12 p.m. on the Barn Stage and goes until 6:45 p.m., featuring 17 local bands. The highlight of the day will be when The Plowboys perform for the first time without late festival founder Tom Hall at 2:30 p.m. The Krewe will gather at that stage before they’re set to raise a toast.

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    Bring your appetite for crawfish. | Photo by COLAtoday

    Shop and eat

    Enjoy a feast for the senses with food vendors like Size Matters BBQ Bus and Seafood, Billy G’s Barbeque, and Fleur de’ Licious serving up Cajun treats. Craft vendors like Niennia’s Hemporium + Organically Olivia will be on hand with hand-crafted jewelry and gifts.

    What to bring

    Small bags, foldable chairs, strollers, and leashed dogs are all welcome. City Editor David suggests bringing a blanket and chairs and setting up on the lawn for a day of live music and relaxing festive fun.


    Snag a King Cake from Sour and Salt bakery on Rosewood Drive. | Photo by COLAtoday team

    Where to get your King Cake

    Can’t make it on Saturday? Celebrate with a King Cake. Here are several places you can grab yours across the Midlands you can purchase the buttery pastry covered in icing and topped with purple, yellow, and green sprinkles.

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