1. It’s a no-judgment zone. Especially in this era of divisiveness and seemingly constant arguing, Mardi Gras is a time when everybody comes together and enjoys the same thing, no matter their background. The only thing that’s important is having a good time.
  2. There are no fashion rules. Dress up in a tux or ball gown. Dress down in flip-flops and a T-shirt. Seriously, during Carnival season, you’re guaranteed to see every possible type of wardrobe when you’re enjoying the festivities. And they’re all perfectly acceptable!
  3. King cake. Not only is Louisiana’s favorite dessert only available for a couple of months out of the whole year, authentic versions aren’t sold anywhere else in the country.
  4. The high school bands. The drums, the marching, the dancing, the enthusiasm! During Mardi Gras parades, bands from schools all across Louisiana get the chance to show off their impressive skills.
  5. The royalty. Nothing beats the pageantry, the costumes, the entrances, the toasts, the meeting of the courts. A truly unique event.
  6. You never know what you might catch. Sure, there are plenty of beads, doubloons and plastic cups at every parade. But many krewes have unique throws as well, including coconuts, shoes, toys, stuffed animals and more.
  7. The excitement on kids’ faces. Yes, it might be cliché, but nothing is better than seeing Mardi Gras through the eyes of a child. Their smiles and enthusiasm upon seeing the costumes, floats and of course, catching armfuls of goodies can’t be beat.
  8. The Mardi Gras Indians. A unique tribute to Louisiana history and culture, featuring elaborate handmade costumes, dancing and more. An aspect of Mardi Gras that is both entertaining and educational.
  9. The food. Whether it’s a sit-down meal or grab-and-go street food, restaurants near parade routes usually offer specials featuring the best of Louisiana cuisine. If you’re looking for something different, plenty of restaurants offer authentic dishes based in Mexican, Greek, Lebanese, Chinese and other backgrounds.
  10. Your pets can get in on the action. Yes, Mardi Gras isn’t just for humans anymore. Many cities have their very own doggie krewes and parades during the Carnival season, complete with costumes and royalty.