Where Tampa Bay revelers should go for King Cake, street festivals and other Mardi Gras finds. The celebrations, which continue through Fat Tuesday on Feb. 9, kick off as early as, well, now.
Alessi Bakery The bakery is already churning out traditional King Cake in flavors like apple, cheese and raspberry. Doughnuts, decorated with purple, gold and green, were also teased on Alessi's Facebook page. 2909 W. Cypress St., Tampa, 813-879-4544, alessicatering.com.
Roux Here, too, regionites may start purchasing King Cakes made by the Louisiana-based Joe Gambino's Bakery, as well as other Creole-Cajun bites. 4205 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa, 813-443-5255, rouxtampa.com.
Ricky P's Orleans Bistro Mardi Gras and the EDGE District restaurant's fourth anniversary will unite for a four-day bash. At 5 p.m. Friday, a Lousiana crawfish boil and live music will be featured, while a second line parade with a "Purple Reigns" theme, costume contest for prizes, and performance from the TBone Hamilton Band will take place beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, expect a jazz brunch with complimentary beignets, plus free King Cake and more music on Fat Tuesday. Free, money for food and drinks. 1113 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-821-4061, rickyps.com.
Chief's Creole Cafe A crawfish boil and way more are in store for this neighborhood restaurant. 901 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-498-8979, chiefscreolecafe.com.
Sarasota Mardi Gras Hosted at Payne Park, this food and music festival will offer New Orleans cuisine (crawfish, red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, po' boys), live entertainment, and a free family fun zone with cotton candy, carnival rides and other activities. The three-day event — held 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 10 p.m. Sunday — will showcase art, crafts, merchant tents and a VIP section as well. U.S. Highway 301, Sarasota, sarasotamardigras.com.
Mardi Gras Kickoff Party Ybor City's Big Easy Bar plans to party with daily drink specials, and the Mardi Gras festivities launch at noon Saturday, where a Louisiana-style crawfish boil, served up by chef "Big Baby" Jules, will be highlighted. The Porchdogs will also provide the zydeco tunes. 1704 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-248-3444.
Cajun Cafe on the Bayou Typically closed on Tuesdays, Cajun Cafe will open its doors on Fat Tuesday for patrons seeking a taste of its specialties. 8101 Park Blvd. N., Pinellas Park, 727-546-6732, cajuncafeonthebayou.com.
Urban Brew and BBQ A Mardi Gras celebration, kicking off at 11 a.m. on Fat Tuesday, that will spotlight Abita on tap. Throughout the day, giveaways will be offered to those who purchase the brews. 1939 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-822-8919.
25th Annual Dunedin Mardi Gras An annual downtown Dunedin celebration that draws a crowd of 30,000 and is one the largest Mardi Gras events in the state. Expect beer and wine, food, street performers and music. The festival and parade, which will begin at Pioneer Park, runs from 4 to 11 p.m. Feb. 9, and VIP tickets are available online. Main Street and Douglas Avenue, Dunedin, dunedinmardigras.com.
Sweet Peas Cafe Starting at 4 p.m. Feb. 9, this family-friendly eatery plans to stay open late throughout Dunedin's Mardi Gras event. 434 Virginia Lane, Dunedin, 727-734-0909, thesweetpeascafe.com.
3rd Annual Live Crawfish Boil 3 Daughters Brewing will feature its Beach Blonde Ale and Spicy IPA during a crawfish boil and dinner at 6 p.m. Feb. 9. The evening's live sounds will come from Freddy Mack and The Dixie Express. $20. 222 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg, 727-495-6002, 3dbrewing.com.