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Mardi Gras in the SoMa District

10155251_10153624388593135_11807581590026035_nMardi Gras in Little Rock?  Valentine’s Day isn’t the only holiday in February, although it is generally a bit quieter than one of the others it shares this short month with: Mardi Gras. This year, South Main is pulling out all the stops to change that.

SoMa will host the Sweetheart Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday, Feb. 14, at noon on Main St. from 12th to 24th. The parade includes floats, riders, walkers and more, as well as grand marshals Craig O’Neill and Jane Hankins.

But that’s just the beginning. Following the parade, The Root Café’s beard growing contest (yep) will take place in the Bernice Garden, joined by Stone’s Throw Brewing, Little Rock Central High Jazz Band, food trucks and tarot readings by Summer Wind.

There will also be a free exhibit of handmade Kwendeche masks, who will then give a presentation at 1:30 p.m., at the Esse Purse Museum. Midtown Billiards is hosting a New Orleans Umbrella Contest, and Moxy Modern Mercantile will have all sorts of Mardi Gras goodies.

It’s not a party without food, but you don’t have to tell SoMa that. Community Bakery will have king cake, there’s a specialty flavor of Loblolly ice cream, South on Main is preparing a Mardi Gras/Valentine’s brunch and, of course, there will be plenty of étouffée.

Stay Friday night at the Empress of Little Rock and you will have no problem making it to the parade by noon.  We hope to see you this romantic and exciting weekend!