LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Mardi Gras time is here; time to put on the purple, green and yellow, throw some beads and otherwise enjoy the tradition.

Festivities traditionally run through midnight on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 21, as the final day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.

On Saturday, Feb. 18, a number of cities and locations are hosting parades.

Feb. 18 is when Eureka Springs hosts two parades. From 1:30 – 3 p.m. is the Krewe of Barkus parade. Costumes for the Roman Mythology-themed event are encouraged but not required, including costumes for pets. Then from 2 – 6 p.m. is the Krewe of Krazo Day Parade. These are just two events from the Eureka Springs series of events celebrating Mardi Gras.

Eureka Springs has an additional parade at 4 p.m. on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 21, hosted by Krewe de la Joie.

Feb. 18 is time for the Mardi Gras parade on South on Main in Little Rock. The parade is part of the all-day block party, including the post-parade Little Rock Beard & Mustache contest. The SOMA Mardi Gras starts at 10:30 a.m. with a Superheroes and Villains parade theme—more details on the event page.

And remember that the SOMA Mardi Gras Pet Parade, Barkus on Main, takes place 12 – 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19.

On Feb. 18, Texarkana is hosting a parade at 10 a.m., but the city is also putting on a carnival that began Thursday and is running through Saturday.

Feb. 18 is when the Little Rock Zoo hosts its Mardi Gras celebration, hosted by Generation Zoo. At 10 a.m. the parade starts and you are welcome to join in with decorated strollers or wagons. In front of the Elephant Stage is the best viewing. Mardi Gras foods and treats will be available.

Feb. 19, Sunday, is when St. James United Methodist Church in Little Rock is hosting its pancake breakfast from 9 – 11:30 a.m.

Feb. 19 is the Family Friendly Mardi Gras party at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Bentonville. Doors open at 11 a.m. for games, food, music, dancing, a beer garden and more.

Feb. 18 is time for the Fayetteville Mardi Gras Parade of Fools, its first time back since the pandemic. Participants are welcome.


On paper, Mardi Gras only takes place on Fat Tuesday, the final day before Lent begins. “Mardi” means “Tuesday” in French, and “gras” means “fat.” This is where the name comes from.

The beads tradition dates back to the 19th century when a carnival king threw fake jewels to fans.

Purple, green and gold represent justice, faith and power.