Mardi Gras Parade & Street Faire

As described in SFGate: In Northern California, you typically won’t hear a Southern-style brass band second-lining through quaint streets while “General Doo Dah” is tossing beads.

You also won’t see a group of 12 women, dubbed “the Merry Widows,” twirling and sashaying themselves in front of revelers and excited onlookers while leading a procession of hundreds.

But somehow, in Nevada City, you’ll discover one of the most riotous Mardi Gras-inspired celebrations outside of the American South, and it’s been happening since the mid-1990s. For nearly two decades since, Nevada City has been as close to an actual Mardi Gras celebration that you’ll find anywhere outside of the American South, and it’s something that the residents of the city are proud of, as both a form of economic boost and social recognition.

The small gold-mining town was once the third largest city in the state behind San Francisco and Sacramento during the Gold Rush, though it currently only boasts a population of about 3,000 residents. Nowadays, it maintains a charming small town feel while receiving visitors in search of outdoor adventures and weekend sightseeing — one of which is the largest Mardi Gras to be found along the West Coast.

Join us Saturday, February 10, 2024 for the Nevada City Mardi Gras Festivities!

Parade starts at 2pm | Street Fair from 12pm-4pm


Applications open in December.

Nevada City’s annual Mardi Gras Celebration is set for Saturday, February 10, 2024. The annual event features a festive parade and Street Fair throughout historic downtown Nevada City, offering up spirited fun for all ages

Nevada City has been known to throw a party and its version of Fat Tuesday is no exception! People come just for this colorful annual event that lights up the streets with bright costumes, beads and a sense of playfulness.

Come early for lunch and shopping. The Street Fair on N. Pine Street will be open from 12pm-4pm, you can find accessories for your perfect costume, shop hand-made gifts, eco-vendors, masks, food, drinks, and more.

Spectators will crowd the streets to enjoy the floats and revelers at the annual Mardi Gras Parade, which starts at 2pm on Broad Street. Everyone is encouraged to wear festive Mardi Gras attire.

Along with the fun, Nevada City also honors noteworthy citizens for their contributions to the community. Each year the Mardi Gras Planning Committee chooses four (4) individuals that have impacted Nevada City’s community positively to serve as the Mardi Gras King and Queen and the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess. The committee also honors a Grand Marshal, who leads the parade.

Become a Sponsor

Please consider becoming a sponsor for this amazing community event!

Images provided by Curtis Gruss Photography. Any reproduction or other usage must include acknowledgement of photographer.