Banana Bike Brigade's 5th Annual Banana Ball Costume contest at 8:30 p.m., music by the Garbanzos and special guest Swing Set. $15 in advance at the Framery (11th & Russell), $20 at the door. Cash food and bar. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Circus Day Foundation. Saturday, February 14, 7 p.m.-1 a.m. South Broadway Athletic Club, 2301 S. 7th Street. Call 314-776-4833.
Beggin' Strips Krewe of Barkus Pet Parade Mardi Gras goes to the dogs...and cats, fish, livestock and many more animals as pet lovers bring their faithful companions to this seventeenth annual celebration of pets. Parade starts at 1 p.m. and makes its way through Soulard, ending at Soulard Market Park. Animal participants are subject to the approval of Mardi Gras, Inc. and the St. Louis Department of Animal Control based on appropriateness, temperament and health. No charge, but participants are encouraged to make a $5 donation to the Open Door Animal Sanctuary, a no-kill animal shelter. Sunday, February 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Registration is at Clementine's (on the corner of Allen and Menard) at 10 a.m. Maps are available at www.mardigrasinc.com.
Broadway Oyster Bar Friday, February 20, in the heated tent: Naked Groove and Impala Deluxe, 8 p.m.-close, $5. Saturday, February 21, in the heated tent: Dangerous Kitchen, Gumbohead, Dash Rip Rock, 1 p.m.-midnight, $5. Tuesday, February 24: Fat Tuesday with Doug Legacy and the Zydeco Party Band, 9 p.m.-close, $5. Costumes encouraged. 736 S. Broadway. Call 314-621-8811.
Bubby & Sissy's Mardi Gras Dance Party Saturday, February 21, 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Drag shows at 11 p.m. & 1 a.m. featuring Shelbie Reightback, Erica Leigh Foster, Sable Sinclair and Marissa Bloomingdale. No cover. 602 Belle St., Alton, Illinois. Call 618-465-4773.
Casa Loma Ballroom Friday, February 20, Mardi Gras Party with Mystic Knights of the Purple Haze, music by Bob Chase & His Wild Accusations and Gumbo Head. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Admission is $25 in advance through Metro Tix or $30 at the door. Includes beer, wine, soda and beads. Friday, February 20. 3354 Iowa Ave. Call 314-664-8000 or visit www.casalomaballroom.com for more information.
Cat's Meow Inc. Annual Washer Tournament. Saturday, February 14. Registration starts at 10 a.m.; tournament starts at 11 a.m. $15 per team of two. 2600 South Eleventh Street at Sidney. Call 314-776-8617 to pre-register.
Charter Communications Grand Parade Downtown to Soulard. The Grand Parade is the centerpiece of St. Louis' Mardi Gras celebration. Now in its 25th year, the parade is a colorful and eclectic collection of floats and walking performers. The parade has something for everyone, including the kids, who can visit the Family Fun Area in Kiener Plaza. Saturday, February 21, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. This event is free.
Clementine's Thursday, February 19: Annual Tacky Ball Gown Contest. Saturday, February 21: High Heel Drag Race on Allen Avenue, 3 p.m. Awards hosted by Petrina Marie, costume contest, cash prizes. Corner of Allen and Menard. Call 314-664-7869 for more information.
Fat Tuesday Parade The Fat Tuesday parade is a colorful night parade through the streets of downtown St. Louis. Beginning in the Schlafly Tap Room parking lot at Locust and 21st streets, the parade makes its way through the revitalized St. Louis loft district and concludes at Washington Avenue and 4th Street at the top of Laclede's Landing. The parade consists of the 50 best floats and performers from the Grand Parade. Grab a spot anywhere along the route. and enjoy the rare treat of a nighttime parade. Tuesday, February 24, 6:30 p.m.-midnight. This event is free.
Fat Tuesday Party Zones The Fat Tuesday celebration includes three party zones: the Schlafly Tap Room parking lot, the Washington Avenue Garment/Loft District on Washington Avenue between Tucker Boulevard and 14th Street, and on Laclede's Landing. The party zones are fun-filled street festivals, and each features its own unique brand of entertainment. Participating establishments in these three zones will offer samples of signature dishes and plenty of refreshments for sale at outdoor booths. Tuesday, February 24, 4-8 p.m. Visit www.mardisgrasinc.com for more information.
Fête du Bon Vieux Temps (Festival of the Good Old Days) Period music, candlelight tours, trial re-enactments and a Colonial Mardi Gras Ball from 7-11 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Eighteenth-century costumes are encouraged. Tickets for ball are $6. Saturday, February 21, 2-5 p.m. Cahokia Courthouse, Jarrott Mansion, Holy Family Log Church and Martin-Boismenue House, Cahokia, Illinois. Call 618-332-1782 for more information.
Graham's Grill & Bayou Bar Wednesday, February 18: Frankie Catalina, 6-9:30 p.m.; Friday, February 20: Blue Daddy, 8 p.m.-midnight; Saturday, February 21: the Don Scherrer Banjo Band, 3-7 p.m.; Keith Doder & the Blue City Band, 8 p.m.-midnight; Tuesday, February 24: the Don Scherrer Banjo Band, 6-10 p.m.; nightly Cajun specials: February 18-24. 612 Woodbine, Kirkwood. Call 314-965-2003 for more information.
Great Grizzly Bear Core Project and Know Boundaries. Saturday, February 21. 1027 Geyer. Call 314-231-0444 for prices and times.
Hammerstone's Wednesday, February 18: Hot-Wing Eating Contest, 7 p.m., $10 entry fee, cash prize; Saturday, February 21: full outdoor bar, DJ; Sunday, February 22: Breakfast menu starting at 9 a.m. No cover charge. 2228 S. 9th at Russell. Call 314-773-5565 for more information.
Joanie's Pizzeria Saturday, February 14: Sit and Spin karaoke in heated tent, 2-10 p.m., Zydeco record spin inside bar, 6-11 p.m.; Sunday, February 15: Hudson & the Hoodoo Cats, 6-10 p.m.; Thursday, February 19: Sit & Spin karaoke, 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.; Saturday, February 21: Patti & the Hitmen in heated tent, 3-10 p.m.; Tuesday, February 24: Hudson & the Hoodoo Cats, 7-11 p.m. 2101 Menard. Call 314-865-1994 for more information.
John D. McGurk's Mardi Gras Celebration featuring the Melvin Turnage Band: Friday, February 20, 9 p.m.- 1 a.m.; Saturday, February 21, noon-4:30 p.m. and 5:30-10:30 p.m.; Monday, February 23, 8 p.m.-midnight; Tuesday, February 24, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Also featuring DJ Charlie Chan in the spacious party tent: Saturday, February 21, 4-11 p.m. 1200 Russell. Call 314-776-8309 for more information.
Lafayette's Eggs & Kegs Breakfast, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, February 21. Shuttle to Soulard runs 10 a.m. -- midnight. DJ all day & night. Drink & food specials. No cover. 1727 Park Ave in Lafayette Square Call 314-241-1004 for more information.
Lynch Street Bistro Grey Goose Mardi Gras Celebration hosted by the Grey Goose Girls, Bud Girls and Jägermeister Girls. Saturday, February 21. Party starts at 2 p.m.; Dr. Zhivegas 3 p.m.; J.C. Corcoran Live 4 p.m. $20 in advance, $25 at the door. 1031 Lynch. Call 314-772-5777 for more information.
Maggie O'Brien's Maggie's Mardi Gras. Friday, February 20; Saturday, February 21; and Tuesday, February 24. "When Soulard Ends, Market Street Begins." Enjoy music & dancing at Maggie's. Catch the shuttle from Maggie's to the Parade. $3. 2000 Market St. Call 314-421-1388 for more information.
Mayor's Ball The Mayor's Ball has quickly become one of the hottest tickets on the St. Louis social scene. A black-tie optional masquerade ball hosted by the Mayor of St. Louis in City Hall, the evening is a veritable "who's-who" of St. Louis. Underwritten in part by civic-minded corporate citizens like Anheuser-Busch, proceeds from this truly unique and electric evening benefit the renovation of City Hall and the charitable efforts of the Mardi Gras Foundation. So, don your tuxedo or ball gown, find a mask and join us. Friday, February 20, 6 p.m.-midnight. $100-$200. St. Louis City Hall, Tucker & Market St. Visit www.mardigrasinc.com.
N'Orleans Café 5th annual Fat Tuesday Extravaganza. All you can eat Cajun buffet. Live rhythm & blues featuring Marty Abdulla & the Expressions Band. 5 p.m.-midnight. $20 for buffet. 3805 Valle Ave. at New Halls Ferry, Florissant. Call 314-831-8810 for more information.
Nadine's Gin Joint & Café Saturday, February 21: Total '60s Rock & Roll with Dee Dee & the Dinos, 2 p.m.-9 p.m., $5. 1931 S. 12th St. Call 314-436-3045 for more information.
Norton's Café 808 Geyer, 314-436-0828. 10th annual Night in New Orleans. Five course Boulevard Beer Dinner. Each course served with a different Boulevard Beer. Thursday, February 19, seatings at 6 & 8:30 p.m., $40 per person. 808 Geyer. Call 314-436-0828 for reservations.
Off-Broadway 11th annual Mardi Gras Kick-off Party to benefit Operation Food Search. An evening of singin', dancin', great music and beads! Music by Otis (ex-KDHX morning-show band) with special guests Barbara Carr, Rondo & Johnnie Johnson. Please bring a donation of canned food for Operation Food Search. Doors open at 7 p.m., $10. 3511 Lemp, 314-832-4420.
PetsMart Wiener Dog Derby Soulard Market Park. February 15, 2 -- 4 p.m. Dachshund lovers and their lovable companions descend upon Soulard Market Park for the annual PETsMART Wiener Dog Derby. Registration begins at 12:00 p.m. at the park and the first heat takes place at 2:00 p.m. The dachshunds race in three divisions based on age: Cocktail Wienies, Ballpark Franks, and Hot Dogs. The finals are followed by the trophy presentation ceremony in the Wiener's Circle. $10 per entrant. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Dachshund Rescue Foundation.
Soulard's Restaurant Special Mardi Gras menu on parade day, Saturday, February 21. Breakfast features housemade pancakes, 8-11 a.m.; lunch features pork tenderloin w/garlic mayo, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; dinner features peppered filet w/cognac sauce & bread pudding w/whiskey sauce for dessert, 4-10 p.m. 1731 S. 7th St. Call 314-241-7956 for reservations.
SqWires Restaurant Within walking distance of parade route. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Mardi Gras breakfast/brunch served February 20 & 21, 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; Friday, February 20: live music by the Melroys; Saturday, February 21: live music by R. Scott Bryan. $3 cover for music. 1415 S. 18th Street, Lafayette Square. Call 314-865-3522 for more information.
Saint Louis Zoo Mardi Gras Family Style includes mask-making for children, colorful beads and a parade through the zoo. Sponsored by Delta Dental of Missouri and supported by Radio Disney. www.stlzoo.org. Free. Call 314-781-0900 for more information.
Stupid Pet Tricks Contest at Joanie's Pizzeria in conjunction with PAWS/STL. Sunday, February 15: registration at 11:30 a.m.; showtime at 2:45 p.m. Categories include best costume, best trick, best tail wag and people/pet look-a-like. $5 entry fee. Maximum of 60 animals to compete. All proceeds benefit PAWS/STL. 2101 Menard at Russell. Call 314-865-1994 for more information.
11th annual Subterranean Ball Dennis Stroughmatt and Creole Stomp. Sponsored by the Soulard Social Aid and Pleasure Club's Mystic Krewe of Kosmic Debris, Friday, February 20, 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. $15 in advance, $20 at door. South Broadway Athletic Club, 2301 S. Broadway. Tickets are available through MetroTix at 314-534-1111, the South Broadway Athletic Club at 314-776-4833 or directly through Krewe members. Call 314-865-1652 for more information.
Taste of Soulard Several of Soulard's fine establishments offer samples of their signature dishes in this unique make-your-own event. Attendees are able to make their own route through Soulard as they use tasting booklets with seven tickets to sample signature dishes and beverages at the various restaurants and pubs of Soulard. Attendees are welcome to make their own way around Soulard or use the free trolley provided by Mardi Gras, Inc. Veterans of this event turn it into an annual make-your-own pub crawl. February 14 & 15, 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. $15 for a book of seven taste tickets. Booklets can be purchased in advance at any participating Soulard establishment or by calling 314-771-5110. Booklets are also available for purchase the day of the event at participating Soulard establishments.