2020 Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras in Lorain County is back — and it’s bigger, bolder, louder and tastier than ever!

Can’t make it to New Orleans? Let the good times roll right here, from Feb. 20-29, as we celebrate from Avon Lake to Oberlin with Cajun and Creole food and drink specials, lodging deals, special shopping experiences and even a “parade” of festive storefronts. Think jambalaya, muffuletta, beignets, gumbo and red beans and rice, all topped off with NOLA-style music and art and washed down with Hurricanes and Sazeracs.

The party peaks on Feb. 29 at Lorain County Community College’s Stocker Arts Center with an extravaganza that includes a Final Fête culinary food showcase, followed by the Grammy award-winning music of Terrance Simien and the Zydeco experience. The band will be flying in straight from New Orleans to unleash a bit of the Big Easy on the shores of Lake Erie. 

Lorain County Commissioners Logo Lorain County Community College Logo Visit Lorain County Logo

How it Works!

Kick-off your adventure by picking up a custom Mardi Gras Passport, either at Visit Lorain County (8025 Leavitt Road, Amherst) or at one of the participating locations found below.

Your Passport will guide you to the special meals, deals, drinks, exhibits and performances being offered at restaurants, bars, sweet shops, shops, hotels, art galleries and theaters across the county. Take part in the Mardi Gras deal being offered and you’ll get both a stamp and a bead necklace. Your passport will also lead you to stunning window displays, where you’ll find a Mardi Gras-inspired code word (more on that in a sec).

Even better, your Passport is your ticket to keep the good times rolling. Those who have been stamped from two places in each respective category (restaurants, bars, sweet shops, shops; lodging excluded.), completed all code words in displays/storefronts, and attend the concert are eligible to enter our drawing for our GRAND PRIZE.

Straight from New Orleans

But the highlight of the festivities is the February 29 concert by a band straight out of New Orleans—Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience—at Lorain County Community College’s Stocker Center. Jam with us at the Hoke Theatre starting at 7 p.m. Tickets for the concert are $10 and can be ordered by calling the Stocker Arts Box Office at 440-366-4040. Want to make the night even better? Sample authentic Creole fare during the Final Fête culinary buffet ($25 a person, including concert ticket with preferred seating), which is held right before the show at 5:00 p.m. in Spitzer Conference Center’s Reaser Grand Room and the Ben and Jane Norton Culinary Lobby.

Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience take the stage on Feb. 29 at Lorain County Community College’s Stocker Center. If you haven’t heard zydeco yet, you’re in for an upbeat treat with the sounds of the guitar, fiddle, accordion, drums and rubboard. And no one does it better than Simien.

“Simien is a Zydeco Master: his voice yearning like Sam Cooke, he delivers soul worthy of Stax greats and shows crossover class.”

– Rolling Stone


Open Air Market

On the streets of NOLA, especially during Mardi Gras, curious folk are encouraged to shop the streets where artists and other vendors set up a market with their goods. In the spirit of this tradition, we’re bringing in local vendors for our first “Open Air Market” during our Final Fete of Mardi Gras. Browse for wares and other goodies before the concert.

Check out the list of vendors:

Treats by Ty
Verite Glass Inc.
JB Wood n’ Craft
Voter Registration
Eileen Rockwell & Pandy Sails
SuePam Jewelry
Diane Marrapese
Cat Rodgers
Tracy’s Trinkets & Treasures & More



Win Big from the Big Easy

You don’t need a Passport to enjoy our Mardi Gras food, drink and music. But if you want to be eligible to win our grand prize gift baskets of New Orleans favorites, take a look at the following rules:

  • Participants must attend the concert to win. Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience will perform on Feb. 29. Participants are asked to hold onto their ticket stub/receipt for proof of purchase.
  • Those who complete 60 percent of their passport (with stamps from businesses and/or code words) and attend the concert are eligible to enter our drawing for our grand prize.
  • Wine and dine on Southern Creole specials! One stamp per order at restaurants and bars, no exceptions. One person orders one special and receives one stamp on their passport for corresponding location.
  • Stamps at shops with a posted special. Stamps will not be granted to participants from shops that are solely participating in the display contest. A special code-word unique to each shop will suffice.
  • Stop in and stay awhile! Shops with specials will stamp your passport when the participating guests browse their wares. Some of the greatest and most unique things you’ll find are often discovered in small shops!
  • Participants must submit their official Mardi Gras card to Visit Lorain County by March 6. Cards can be submitted:
    • In person at Visit Lorain County (8025 Leavitt Road, Amherst, 44001) during regular business hours
    • By mail to: Mardi Gras, 8025 Leavitt Road, Amherst, OH 44001
    • By snapping a picture of both sides and emailing it to: visitors@visitloraincounty.com
  • Only one entry per person.
  • One winner will be chosen for the Grand Prize: Hand-selected gift baskets full of favorites straight from New Orleans!
  • Winners must contact Visit Lorain County immediately for the details of their prize. Can be reached via email or phone.