Downtown West Monroe kicks off the Mardi Gras season with various activities to encourage the public to safely celebrate the unusual 2021 Carnival season in lieu of canceled parades.

Activities include a scavenger hunt with virtual QR code “doubloons” and a Mardi Gras photo op area in Alley Park.

Downtown West Monroe has once again been named as the Northeast Louisiana King Cake Headquarters, with six locations offering unique king cake creations. A wide variety of options will be available downtown, from savory to spirited to traditional.

A list of participating merchants is below:

  • Caster and Chicory has become a well-established local favorite for king cakes, having expanded from their food truck business to a downtown bakery storefront in 2020.
  • Downtown Nutrition will offer a king cake shake along with other Mardi Gras-themed drink flavors taken from their energizing teas and healthy shakes.
  • For an organic and healthy option, For His Temple Family Foods will locally offer the Eat Fit King Cake. New Orleans’ nutritionist Molly Kimball with Ochsner Health System developed this all-natural cake which is low-carb, zero sugar, and free of gluten, grain, and dairy.
  • The district’s newest restaurant, JAC’s Craft Smokehouse, will offer a savory twist to the king cake: The King Dog. The creation will feature a purple-frosted Gambino’s bun, smoked sausage, jalapeno cream cheese and bayou gold mustard sauce. The item will be available starting January 9.
  • Luna Piena’s spirited version combines all the flavors of king cake into a glass garnished with purple, green, and gold sugar. This cocktail includes vanilla and cake vodka, cinnamon schnapps, Irish cream.
  • Rustique Gator will offer the most flavors of Gambino’s king cakes in the area beginning January 12 when their shop will reopen for the year. Gambino’s is an internationally famous New Orleans bakery known for their traditional king cakes.

The Downtown Mardi Gras Scavenger Hunt began Jan. 6 and will run until Friday, Feb. 12.

Downtown West Monroe partnered with the West Monroe West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce to present the free activity.

Virtual doubloons will be scattered throughout a dozen downtown shops and restaurants offering king cake creations or Mardi Gras merchandise.

Participants can enter up to 12 times by visiting the locations and scanning each QR code. A winner will be drawn live on the Downtown West Monroe Facebook on Feb. 12.

There will also be a festive photo backdrop in Alley Park for the community to take Mardi Gras photos. The display will be set up by Friday, Jan. 8.

Additional Mardi Gras activities and promotions will be announced throughout the season on the Downtown West Monroe Facebook Page.

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