When: Tue., Feb. 9, 7 p.m. 2016
Saturday, FEB. 6 & Tuesday, FEB. 9 DURHAM MARDI GRAS
After a winter storm wiped out last year's festivities, Durham Mardi Gras hopes to return in force for the nonprofit's sixth year of Fat Tuesday celebrations, both city-sanctioned and otherwise. As its Big Easy-meets-Bull City slogan suggests, "Laissez les bull temps rouler."
Get an early start with Saturday's Samedi Gras celebration at Motorco, which helps fund the rest of Durham Mardi Gras and features the first of a few appearances by the festival's host band, The Bulltown Strutters. The wild collective fuels the party by pairing New Orleans classics with some funk. The costumed Beauty Operators join the bill to serve up greasy roadhouse blues and meaty rock. Cirque de Vol makes the trek from Raleigh to perform aerial acrobatics.
Tuesday's events begin at CCB Plaza with an opening ceremony in which Major the Bull will sport a tutu, a boa, and beads. From there, The Bulltown Strutters and more than a dozen "Parade Krewes" will move mostly along Foster Street toward Motorco, where Sidecar Social Club takes the stage with speakeasy jazz. The Strutters then take another turn.
Nearby spaces will host cover-free, two-band bills: Across the street at Fullsteam, Piedmont bluesman John Dee Holeman opens for the roots-based storytellers of Gasoline Stove, while Ellis Dyson & The Shambles raise a ruckus with ragtime and old-time tunes at Blue Note Grill. They follow Boom Unit Brass Band's open-minded combinations of New Orleans traditionals and unlikely covers. The Pit presents Cajun fare from MSA Ramblers and The Cajammers, while The Bar hosts a Mardi Gras drag show. —Spencer Griffith
VARIOUS VENUES, DURHAM, various times, free–$10, www. durhammardigras.com