Mardi Gras & King Cakes: Celebrate in Columbia, SC

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Are you ready for Mardi Gras in Columbia, SC? We have all the things you need to know to plan your celebration from where to get King Cakes in Columbia, to family-friendly events and some special events for the adults. Get Ready for Mardi Gras: Columbia, SC!

Mardi Gras Columbia SC, and where to get king cakes in Columbia, SC

History of Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is a French term translated literally to Fat Tuesday. It’s a celebration of the last day of feasting before the fasting of Lent begins. The origins date back to the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. Over time, it evolved from a celebration of “Boeuf Gras” (fatted calf) to more elegant high society balls, and then from 1781 the Mardi Gras “carnival” was introduced and later came to include parades, eventually floats and then throws, which were first recorded in 1870.

Having had the pleasure of living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for about 6 years, our family was able to experience Mardi Gras parades throughout late January and early February. It was surprising to me that Mardi Gras is actually an entire season of parades, not just the Fat Tuesday Parade through downtown NOLA.

Believe it or not, most parades generally aren’t the wild experience many imagine them to be. The way kids’ (and adults’) faces light up as they catch the beads, candy, cups, footballs, and other random throws is so much fun. While we have never been to THE Mardi Gras parade, we’ve enjoyed many others as a family.

Mardi Gras In NOLA

Mardi Gras in NOLA

Similar to the way that schools here celebrate Halloween with a parade of students dressed in costume, Louisiana schools celebrate Mardi Gras with students dressed as coordinated “Krewes” each with their own theme. They parade around the school with decorated wagons, tossing candy and other throws to parents and siblings. Those were some of my fondest memories of our time spent in Louisiana.

Mardi Gras fully encompasses the general culture and vibe of New Orleans: laid back, fun, and friendly with a passion for food, music, and art. It is unlike any other celebration on earth!

If you ever get the chance to visit during Mardi Gras, I highly recommend it. Most of the parades are very family-friendly and occur all over the state, all different days and times. The food is unparalleled and it will be a blast, guaranteed.

Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras in Columbia

Fortunately, Columbia has some festive things going on so you can save the gas money and celebrate close to home this year.

Family-Friendly Mardi Gras Events in Columbia

14th Annual Mardi Gras Columbia Festival

This fun, family-friendly event is sponsored by Louisiana’s own Abita Brewing Company. It will take place on Saturday, February 10th at City Roots Urban Farm.

Mardi Gras Parade in Columbia, SC: The parade will kick off the festivities at 11 am down Jim Hamilton Boulevard and is free and open to the public.

The festival will be free for kids 12 and under and only $10 for admission otherwise. There will be live music, food trucks, local vendors, and of course beer from Abita Brewing Company. Bring beads, cash, and your dancing shoes. Prepare to have a great day. Let’s Geaux!
14th Annual Mardi Gras Columbia Festival

Mardi Gras Afterparty at Foxfield Bar and Grille

After the Parade and Festival, head over to Foxfield Bar and Grille for live music and more fun. This is a free and family friendly event and will have outdoor heaters plus shelter in the event of rain!
Mardi Gras Afterparty at Foxfield Bar and Grille

BOHO Pizza and Brew

Come enjoy the Fat Tuesday Celebration on February 13th featuring Abita beer specials and receive beads when you order it. This restaurant is very kid friendly with a large outdoor dining area featuring a playset to keep the kids entertained while you enjoy the celebration.
BOHO Pizza and Brew

Miss Mardi Gras Pageant

Pelion Performing Arts Center is hosting the Miss Mardi Gras Pageant and welcomes girls and boys of all ages to participate. Most beautiful, Beauty and Mardi Gras Wear/Outfit of choice will be the events of the day. See link for application details.
Miss Mardi Gras Pageant

Mardi-Gras for Adults

Mardi Gras Party at Top Dawg Tavern – Village at Sandhill

Join Top Dawg Tavern on February 13th in celebrating Mardi Gras with all-day $5 Hurricanes, $1 wings, half-price boneless wings, and a Happy Hour from 4-7 pm. The party starts at 11 am and ends at 10 pm.
Mardi Gras Party at Top Dawg Tavern

Mardi Gras Party at the Village Cafe

Limited Spots are available for this event and it require reservations. The party will feature Mardi Gras-inspired drinks and Classic “N’awlins” dishes plus more NOLA fun.
Mardi Gras Party at The Village Cafe

Fat Tuesday Sip & Shop

B & L Antiques and Tandem Treasures present an evening of extended hours at Shoppes of Pontiac for those 21+ to enjoy adult beverages while shopping.
Fat Tuesday Sip & Shop

Crawfish & Pancakes

Fat Tuesday Crawfish Boil

CJ’s Fivepoints is hosting a Fat Tuesday Celebration complete with Crawfish Boil, corn and all the fixings and spice! Bring your beads and come enjoy the DJ and Karaoke!
Fat Tuesday Crawfish Boil

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Suppers

Embrace the ancient tradition of Shrove Tuesday and enjoy a rich meal of pancakes before entering into Lent on Wednesday. Here is where you can find Pancake Suppers around Columbia.

Cherokee Presbyterian Church – Gilbert

St. John United Methodist Church – St. Andrews

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church – Chapin

Pilgrim Lutheran Church – Lexington

Ascension Lutheran Church – Columbia

Shandon United Methodist Church – Columbia (Fundraiser)

What’s a King Cake?

Believed to have originated in France around the 12th Century, the King Cake is a Roman Catholic tradition that celebrates the Epiphany, the coming of the Three Wise Men. Observed on January 6th and ending on Mardi Gras Eve it is also known as Kings Day and marks the end of the Christmas Season and the beginning of Carnival.

Have you ever had King Cake before? If not, now is the time to try and see what all the hype is about. Not only are they pretty, they are even more delicious than they look. Traditionally, the cake is made with a cinnamon-flavored dough, topped with icing or sugar (or both) ,and decorated with royal shades of green, gold and purple.

Think a wreath-shaped cinnamon roll – but better and ranging from pastry-like to less sweet bread-like consistency. The wreath shape symbolizes a king’s crown. Almond, cream cheese, praline, chocolate, and fruit are also popular fillings in Louisiana, but if you look hard enough you can find Nutella, goat cheese and even bacon-topped King Cakes.

Another thing that sets the King Cake apart as special? The fève, or little trinket you may luck out and find inside. The tradition that began as a bean and is now typically a plastic baby, symbolizes the hiding of Baby Jesus from King Herod’s troops. Whoever finds the baby in their slice is King or Queen for the day and responsible for hosting the next celebration or providing the King Cake for it.

Where to Get King Cakes in Columbia, SC?

Traveling to Louisana would be quite a trip to pick up a King Cake. Though some NOLA bakeries will ship them, there are plenty of bakeries serving up King Cake right here in Columbia.

Luzianna Purchase Charcuterie, Art & Po Boys is a Cajun & Creole Restaurant known for its authentic Cajun Creole dishes. They are selling the famous Gambino’s King Cake delivered fresh from NOLA. Cypress Corner is nestled inside and features unique gifts and art, complete with Mardi Gras-themed items. Geaux see them this Carnival Season.
Address: 7011 St. Andrews Road C2, Irmo
Hours: Saturday 10 am – 1 pm, Tuesday – Friday 11 am – 3 pm.

Tiffany’s Eats, Sweets & Meeting Place makes King Cakes using the 40-year-old recipe with original NOLA Cinnamon Schmear filling (standard) or cream cheese filling (upon request). Yes, there is a baby hidden somewhere inside. There is 48 hours’ notice required when ordering so be sure to plan ahead.
Address: 9704 Two Notch Road, Columbia
Hours: Monday 7 am-6 pm kitchen closed, Tuesday & Wednesday 7 am – 6 pm, Thursday & Friday 7 am – 9 pm, Saturday 8 am – 6 pm.

VooDoo Kitchen Catering is offering Traditional King Cake, Mini King Cake (regular or cream cheese icing), King Cake in Jar (option to add fruit filling), King Cake Bread Pudding Boudin King Cake (Boudin is sausage made with pork and rice) with a variety of options. A 50% deposit is required upon ordering. Call or text 843.991.7339 to place your order. All Mardi Gras items include a baby and Mardi Gras bead.
Address: Holly Hill, SC

The Blended Bakery King Cakes are available to order and do come with the baby inside, if you prefer it “on the side” please notify them when ordering. Visit the Blended Bakery Website to place your order.
Address: 5076 Sunset Boulevard, STE A, Lexington
Hours: Closed Monday, Tuesday – Thursday 10 am – 3 pm, Friday & Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, Sunday 9 am – 3 pm.

Sweet Pea’s Ice Cream & Cafe is baking King Cakes using the traditional cinnamon sugar filling but they are happy to make variations upon request. King Cakes are available to order and require 48 hours advance notice. Be sure to check out all the other delicious chocolate-covered treats, Cocoa Bombs, and pies available before you place your order. King Cake will likely be one of the many things you add to your cart.
Address: 412 McNulty Street, Suite B, Blythewood
Hours: Monday – Thursday 1 – 7 pm, Friday & Saturday 1 – 8 pm, Sunday 2 – 6 pm.

Sour and Salt Bakery is offering 4 King Cake Variations; Cream Cheese and Cinnamon , Chocolate, Apple Cream Chees and Rasberry Cream Cheese. Orders typically require 48 hours’ notice and are availble in 3 sizes. Plan on snagging some unique bagels, like spinach and feta or roasted carrot with smoked paprika and habanero, or a slice of Biscoff cheesecake or baklava when picking up your King Cake order.
Address: 2761 Rosewood Drive
Hours: Monday Closed, Tuesday – Friday 8 am – 6 pm, Saturday & Sunday 8 am – 2 pm.

Tres Leches Bakery is a dessert shop specializing in pastries and features authentic Mexican, Cuban, and Colombian options in addition to traditional American pastries. They have King Cakes available for order which appear to more closely resemble a Rosca de Reyes, similar to a brioche bread, rather than pastry dough and looks delicious.
Address: 6903 St. Andrews Road, Columbia
Hours: Monday 8 am – 7 pm, Tuesday 11 am – 7 pm, Wednesday – Saturday 8 am – 7 pm, Sunday Noon – 5 pm.

Lowe’s Foods, Publix & Whole Foods carry King Cakes as well. And if you’re looking for a truly authentic King Cake, Kroger carries Gambinos King Cake which is made in NOLA and popular among those originally from Louisiana.

Events in Columbia, SC, this month, this weekend

Find lots more events in Columbia, SC on our KA COLA Events Calendar.

Looking for more Mardi-Gras? Check out the Mardi-Gras Celebrations Near Greenville, SC.

Rachael Townsend
About the Author
Rachael is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but is happy to now call Columbia, South Carolina home. She worked as an Athletic Trainer and holds a Masters Degree in Performance Enhancement. Currently a stay-at-home mom of three, she enjoys exploring the area with her family and finding fun experiences for them to share. She loves going to the beach and soaking in sunshine whenever possible and enjoys gardening and crafting in her free time.

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