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Taste the good times of Mardi Gras

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 10, 2012 - If it's February in St. Louis, you know what that means: Get the good times rolling with Mardis Gras parties.

Mardi Gras momentum began building last week, but one of the most sumptuous events takes place Saturday and Sunday. The Taste of Soulard fills up the entire weekend with the bites and gulps from the Bastille, Big Daddy's, Franco, Joanie's, McGurk's, Nadine's, Soulard Coffee Garden and over a dozen more bars and restaurants.

On Sunday afternoon, take a pause from eating to enter your favorite cat (yeah, right -- try putting that boa thing on a cat) or canine in the annual Barkus Pet Parade at 1 p.m., or just come to watch. An hour later, pull for your favorite Dachshund at the Wiener Dog Derby

Of course, all this fanfare leads up to the Grand Parade next Saturday, Feb. 18, and the grand finale, the Fat Tuesday Parade on Feb. 21.

A full list of official Mardi Gras events can be found at www.mardigrasinc.com .

But you can also celebrate outside of Soulard tonight at the Sheldon's "Funky Dog Ball," featuring the Funky Butt Brass Band and Dogtown All-Stars in concert.

'Funky Dog Ball'

Where: Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd., 63108

When: 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10

How much: $15

Tickets/Information: www.thesheldon.org

Taste Of Soulard

Where: Participating Soulard eating establishments

When: Beginning 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 11-12

How much: $25

Tickets/Information: www.mardigrasinc.com/events/southern-comfort-taste-of-soulard

Pet Parade

Where: Starts at corner of Allen and Menard in Soulard

When: 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12

How much: $10 for your pet to participate, benefits Open Door animal sanctuary

Tickets/Information: www.mardigrasinc.com/events/beggin-strips-barkus-pet-parade/

Wiener Dog Derby

Where: Soulard Market Park

When: 10 a.m. registration, 2 p.m. first heat; Sunday, Feb. 12

How much: $10 to register your Dachshund, free to watch

Tickets/Information: www.mardigrasinc.com/events/petsmart-wiener-dog-derby/#

Grand Parade

Where: Busch Stadium to Anheuser-Busch

When: 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18

How much: Free

Information: www.mardigrasinc.com/events/river-city-grand-parade

Fat Tuesday Parade

Where: Starts at corner of Washington and Broadway

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21

How much: Free

Information: www.mardigrasinc.com/events/lumiere-place-fat-tuesday-parade/#

Contact Beacon staff writer Nancy Fowler

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.