Plus, A'ja Wilson on Good Morning America.
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68º | Cloudy | 6% chance of rain
Sunrise 7:14 a.m. | Sunset 6:02 p.m.

The need for beads
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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 on Saturday, Feb. 10 at City Roots Farm. We asked the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-Yas for a few tips on navigating the festival. 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.
  • 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.
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Experience Columbia SC ambassador David Laird serving drinks at Mardi Gras 2023. | Photo by COLAtoday

  • Buy your ticket online in advance 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 to find a place to sit and enjoy all the Cajun and Carolinas-inspired foods.
  • Have a great time. That’s what the Krewe is all about.
Friday, Feb. 9
Saturday, Feb. 10
  • Pups & Pints Adoption Event | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 12-3 p.m. | Bierkeller Columbia, 600 Canalside St., Columbia | Free | Bring a leash, drink a pint, and speed date with the pups.
  • Gamecock Men’s Basketball vs. Vanderbilt Commodores | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 1 p.m. | Colonial Life Arena, 801 Lincoln St., Columbia | $20-$55 | Root for the Gamecock Men’s basketball team as they take on the Vanderbilt Commodores inside of Colonial Life Arena.
  • Black History Month Celebration | Saturday, Feb. 10 | 2-5 p.m. | Richland Library Main, 1431 Assembly St., Columbia | Free | The event features a culinary conversation with Gullah Chef BJ Dennis, author Dinah Johnson, and a performance by the Cultural Expression African Drum and Dance Ensemble.
Wednesday, Feb. 14
  • Amore Under the Stars | Wed., Feb. 14 | 6-10 p.m. | South Carolina State Museum, 301 Gervais St., Columbia | $80 | This unique Valentine’s Day experience features champagne, stargazing, an exclusive laser show, and more.
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The Vista for Valentine’s: 4 spots we’d love to spend the holiday at
Small plates and bottles of wine at City Grit, located in The Vista.
Good food and good vibes can always be found in The Vista. | Photo by @citygrit
Plan a visit to The Vista for a Valentine’s Day to remember. The Vista, known for being a hub for arts and entertainment, is filled with an eclectic variety of restaurants which makes it the perfect place for dinner.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites so you can show your sweetheart a good time:
  • City Grit: Impress your guest with the best when you opt for an upscale casual dinner at City Grit, a 2023 James Beard Finalist known for its tasty tapas + wine.
  • Gervais & Vine: Have a taste for modern Mediterranean bites? Yes, chef. Enjoy an evening filled with fresh food and wine served in a cozy dining room or al fresco on the patio.
  • SC State State Museum: How about dinner and a show? Amore Under the Stars features delicious food from Loosh Culinaire, a champagne bar, live music, an exclusive planetarium laser show, and more.
  • Mellow Mushroom: Valentine’s Day can still be special even if you’re spending the night in. Pick up a pizza, an order of wings, or plant-based goodies from Mellow Mushroom.
Pro tip: Surprise your sweetheart with a sweet treat from Kaminsky’s, whether you end the evening with a signature dessert martini or a pre-ordered specialty cake.
News Notes
  • The top-ranked Gamecock women’s basketball team will face Missouri and No. 11 UConn without their leading scorer + rebounder Kamilla Cardoso as she heads to play for Brazil in the Olympic qualifiers. Coach Staley is confident the team will rise to the occasion. (The State)
  • WNBA star and Gamecock Hall of Famer A’ja Wilson made an appearance on Good Morning America to talk about her book, “Dear Black Girls.” Grab tickets to her book signing event, happening on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at the R2i2 Conference Center. (ABC Columbia)
  • Chicken Salad Chick will host its grand opening in Trenholm Plaza on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 10:30 a.m. This will be the chicken salad chain’s first Columbia location, with two additional Midlands stores in Irmo and Lexington.
  • The gong has been recovered. ColumbiaPD said that a good Samaritan found the public art centerpiece in a neighborhood near the VA Hospital.
  • Lexington Medical Center is hosting its 2nd Annual Technical College Career Fair on Friday, Feb. 23 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The event for SC technical college students offers an immersive experience with job shadowing opportunities and career insights. Pre-registration required.
  • The Lunar New Year is coming up and we have just the way to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. On Saturday, Feb. 10, head to Richland Library Northeast (7490 Parklane Rd.) from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. for Family Storytime, where families can enjoy stories, songs, crafts, and more.
  • Planning to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday? Stream it with a Paramount+ with Showtime subscription — get 30 days free with code GOAT.*
  • We’re excited to share that 6AM City, our parent company, closed its Series A funding round led by the media company, TEGNA. This partnership means continuing to deliver the same hyper-local news and events while expanding our reach to new readers and communities. Learn more.
🍕 Celebrate with a slice of ‘za
Village Idiot
Village Idiot Pizza has been a Five Points institution for over 30 years | Photo provided by Village Idiot Pizza
Happy National Pizza Day, Cola. Whenever we’re feeling saucy, we like to dig into a slice of local pizza. Cola’s pizza scene is bubbling with options — and we keep finding ways to top ourselves. If you’re on the quest for the perfect slice, we’ve pie-oneered a list of 20+ places to grab pizza that are definitely worth the dough.

Local legends

Dano’s Pizza, 3008 Rosewood Dr., Columbia
While you wait for your local ‘za, choose to munch on either garlic bread, cheesy garlic bread, or garlic knots.

Cucinella’s Pizzeria & Italian Ice, 2250 Sunset Blvd., Ste. M, West Columbia
Cucinella’s offers New York-style crust with a variety of specialty pies along with calzones, strombolis, knots, and more.

Eddie’s Calzones, 817 Harden St., Columbia
Eddie’s Calzones, founded by a New York native, is celebrating 10 years on Feb. 24 and giving away free calzones.
City Guide presented by AllSouth Federal Credit Union.
The Buy
Your must-have from Six & Main’s winter skin edit, featuring face wash, lip balm, and serums to keep your skin hydrated and radiant during the cooler months. Did we mention all products are from small businesses, too?
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The Wrap
David Stringer wearing a dark button-down shirt Today’s edition by:
From the editor
Thanks to Jenn M. at Loose Lucy’s for letting us know about A Peace of Soul’s vegan options for Super Bowl Sunday. Even if you’re a carnivore, you won’t miss meat at all with this assorted “wing” platter.
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