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What is La Crosse Mardi Gras?

La Crosse Mardi Gras is a family-oriented celebration uniting the families of La Crosse and surrounding communities in fun, food, and fellowship for a good cause. Since 1991, Mardi Gras has helped provide tuition assistance for the families of Aquinas Catholic Schools (ACS), as well as assistance to Coulee Region children through scholarships to the Gateway Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Riverland Council of the Girl Scouts, the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Greater La Crosse Area, and the La Crosse Family YMCA.

Mardi Gras Ball

As with the Mardi Gras festivals in Louisiana, La Crosse Mardi Gras is centered around a Rex and Queen and their faithful "Krewes of Carnivale," each represented by a Lord and Lady. There is one krewe for each of the local Catholic parishes involved in ACS: Blessed Sacrament, Cathedral, Holy Trinity, Mary, Mother of the Church, Roncalli Newman Center, St. James the Less, and St. Patrick's. These krewes, along with the reigning Rex and Queen, make Mardi Gras a very special event. Each year, the krewes creatively reinvent themselves with innovative themes.


The newly appointed Rex and Queen preside over the ball and the many krewe parties that lead up to the second main event: Carnivale. This family/community festival is the highlight of the Rex and Queen's reign and is held midwinter to chase away cabin fever. At Carnivale, you can sample foods that please any palate—from kids to adults—like cajun chili, root beer floats, jambalaya, brats and kraut, crepes, hot dogs, and more! There is also an endless parade of talent on the stages at Mardi Gras with area show choirs, karate demonstrations, juggling, clowns, and our very own Coulee Region's Got Talent competition. If food and entertainment aren't enough, try your hand at one of the many Carnivale games from a children's costume contest and games to inflatables and face painting. There is also a raffle for the adults which, in the past, has offered cash prizes, airline tickets (courtesy of Travel Professionals, Inc. and Delta Airlines), and gift certificates to Rose Jewelers.

What do we do the rest of the year? We support local festivals, lending our flair and flamboyance to events like Applefest, Octoberfest, and Jazzfest to name a few. Mardi Gras, like other local fests, strives to bring the community together for fun and fellowship.