Mardi Gras is a bright and festive celebration filled with all kinds of music, parades and delicious food. The phrase “Mardi Gras” originates from the French language and translates to “Fat Tuesday.” This holiday is celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, although some places have turned it into a week-long event. This year, it will be on March 1, 2022. You don’t have to travel all the way to New Orleans to get in on the Mardi Gras festivities—there are a number of ways to celebrate here in NJ.
Enjoy the Craft Market in Montclair
To kick off the Mardi Gras festivities, Montclair will hold a “Small Business & Craft Market” event suitable for all ages. The affair will occur on Feb. 26 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. For music entertainment, DJ Cruel One and DJ Lingo will play songs throughout the entire night. The event will offer food and drinks for all to enjoy. The young attendees can jump around in a bouncy house. Since it is a dedicated occasion for small businesses, you can buy all kinds of art, candles, apparel and jewelry.
Guests will also have the opportunity to partake in raffles kicking off at 4:20 p.m. Tickets have a starting price of $1 per person with an additional fee. Masks are required for entry to the event. All children attending must be accompanied by an adult and supervised at all times. You can purchase tickets on their specialized Eventbrite website.
Buy King Cake at Local NJ Bakeries
What is “King Cake”?
The king cake is a dedication to the original French pastry, “galette des rois.” The galette de rois is normally made to celebrate the three kings’ visit to see the newborn Jesus on Jan. 6. To celebrate Mardi Gras, the French sweet treat is revamped into a vibrantly colored cake. For the most part, king cake comes in an oval shape that’s later decorated with different frostings and sugars. The colors purple, green and gold are the top colors used to put on top of the cake. Each color has a specific meaning; purple means justice, gold means power and green means faith.
The cake can also be filled with anything you want to enrich its flavor. Some top choices are cinnamon, cream cheese, fruits, coconut, nuts and praline. To finish off the dessert, a small baby figurine is placed inside to signify the newborn baby Jesus. When serving the cake, whoever gets a slice with the “baby” inside of it is named king or queen for the day. Furthermore, that same person will need to provide the king cake or host a Mardi Gras party for the following year.
Where to Get King Cake in New Jersey
502 Baking Company – Brick, NJ
This bakery located in Brick, NJ is already accepting orders for their version of the king cake. 502 Baking Company makes it in the oval shape it usually comes in and later dashes it with white icing. Purple, green and gold sprinkles are added for the finishing touch. The cake is priced at $25 and is available for pickup on Mardi Gras day—March 1. You can reach the bakery by their phone number, 732-477-4502 to reserve your very own king cake.
La Bon Bake Shoppes – Multiple NJ Locations
This bakery has multiple locations throughout the Garden State: Edison, Woodbridge, Somerset and South Plainfield. They bring in fresh original king cakes from Paul’s Pastry Shop located in Picayune, Miss. There are multiple king cake varieties to choose from: apple, blueberry, cinnamon, lemon, cherry, strawberry and cream cheese. La Bon Bake Shoppes also offer specialty flavors. Featured options include Berry Deluxe, Pecan Praline, Mississippi Mud, Italian Cream Cheese and Raspberry Amaretto.
Two different sizes are offered when you order a king cake at this bakery. There is a medium size that is valued at $17 and serves 10 to 15 people. As for the large size, it has a price of $29 and serves 20 to 25 people. You can now officially put in your order for a king cake for pick up on March 1. Customers have up to Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. to place their orders for the Mardi Gras holiday. You can request your cake via their website or call them at their phone number, 732-287-1313.
Simona’s Bakery – Sea Girt, NJ
To celebrate “Fat Tuesday,” Simona’s Bakery will be taking orders for their cinnamon-flavored king cakes. If you wish to customize your delicacy’s flavor, you must put in a request for a king cake order. It should be placed in advance—two days before pick up on March 1. Some of the custom flavor options include cheese, blueberry, lemon, pineapple, cherry, strawberry, caramel pecan and red velvet with cheese. If a flavor you want is not on their list, you can call the bakery to let them know which flavor you want.
Three different king cake sizes are available. The first size comes in cupcake form, and serves only one person. Then, there is the small size that has six servings. Lastly, the large size has 12 servings. Prices vary depending on which size you wish to order. You can call them at their phone number 732-223-8373 or come into their in-person location at 2201 Highway 35 in Sea Girt, NJ.
Attend Asbury Park’s Mardi Gras Festival
For an entire day of fun celebrating Mardi Gras, the Asbury Park area will hold an event hosted by Backward Glances and Paws Pet Boutique. On Feb. 26, there will be a series of activities that families can enjoy—such as the King Cake Baby Hunt, Mardi Paws Parade and a Masquerade Ball. The King Cake Baby Hunt is a scavenger hunt that will take place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is suitable for all ages and free to attend. The hunt will begin in Backward Glances, located inside the Shoppes at the Arcade, where you will get information on where to locate all of the king cake babies. Each of the babies has a secret word, which you can use to fill out a form to enter for a chance to win a grand prize.
At 2 p.m., for any pet parents out there, you can have your furry friend participate in the Mardi Paws Parade. When you register your pet for the parade, all registration proceeds will go to Wag On Inn Rescue. The parade will take place on Cookman Ave., pets will be judged for the best costume. It is highly encouraged that they come dressed in Mardi Gras-inspired looks.
To round out the night, the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. There will be live music entertainment by The VooDUDES. Costumes are highly encouraged. At this time, the event hosts will crown the “ruler” of the ball—whoever they found wore the best costume of the night. You can purchase tickets here to attend this specific event.
Check Out Reeves-Reed Arboretum
The Summit-based nature center, Reeves-Reed Arboretum joins the lineup of NJ Mardi Gras festivities. They will host a kid-friendly event perfect for ages five to 10. They will read Mardi Gras-related stories and do activities related to the holiday. This event will help you learn all about the culture and history surrounding Mardi Gras. Masks and registration for this event are required prior to entry. Members pay a $10 fee, while non-members pay a $20 fee. You can register for this event here.
Take Part in The “Mardi Gras on Main”
This Mardi Gras carnival-themed event will take place in Mullica Hill, NJ on March 5 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Many local NJ shops will partake in this event on Main St. Some of the event’s featured businesses are the Cape May Brewing Co. and the Crepe Truck. Also, you may listen to live music and purchase costumes and special sale items. Princess Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog” movie will make a special appearance. No registration is needed to get into the event.
Head to Atlantic City’s Mardi Gras Celebration
This year, Atlantic City will host its first Mardi Gras celebration. The “First Annual Atlantic City Mardi Gras” event will take place on April 3 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Showboat Atlantic City Hotel will be the location for this extravagant event. People of all ages are welcomed to join in on the Mardi Gras celebration. Face masks are required upon entry and admission is free. Although, some specific activities will require a ticket. Attendees are encouraged to buy from the onsite retail and craft vendors.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of foods, sweets and treats offered at the celebration. Also, live music and entertainment will be featured such as a Philadelphia-based string band will perform. If you are planning to attend, it’s encouraged that you come in Mardi Gras gear because guests can partake in the event’s costume contests. Registration for this event can be made here.
VENTANAS in Fort Lee Welcomes You To Celebrate Mardi Gras
Known for their nightlife atmosphere, VENTANAS Restaurant & Lounge welcomes people to join them for their “Mardi Gras Party” event. On March 3, starting at 7 p.m. to the early morning hours, this special occasion is dedicated to Louisiana’s culture. Their Southern-inspired dishes will satisfy your taste buds. To go along with your dish, hand-crafted cocktails will be at hand. Also, there will be a live entertainment lineup that includes a DJ, percussionist and other performances.
Reservations are required for á la carte dinners. Walk-ins are also welcomed for those who want to enjoy cocktails. VENTANAS invites you to dress to impress. Although, the restaurant has a strict dress policy in place. More information for the event and dress code can be found on their website.
Will you be attending any of these Mardi Gras events in NJ? Let us know in the comments!
Main image by Tommao Wang
About the Author/s
Bertha is currently a junior at Rutgers University-Newark. She is interested in writing about fashion, lifestyle, arts / culture and most importantly - food! When she's not writing, she loves spending time with her golden retriever dog, Gizmo.