For most of the rest of the country, New Years is pretty much the last big celebration for quite some time. Here in Louisiana, we do things differently. Once the new year has been ushered in, we get ready for Mardi Gras!

As usual, there are lots of events leading up to the actual "Fat Tuesday"

Mardi Gras 2013 Events

Sunday, January 6 at 5 p.m.

*Twelfth Night
An enchanting evening with the 2012 royal courts of more than 50 krewes making their last glittering promenade, ushering in the 2013 season. Luxurious door prizes, music and dancing! Tickets are $5 in advance, or $6 at the door. Children 5 and under are admitted for free.

Advance tickets are available at the following locations: Joseph's Electric, Gordon's Drug Store and Party Time Store on Lake Street.

Royal Gala
Advance tickets are available at the following locations: Gordon's Drug Store, Party Time Store, Medearis' Costumes, The Mardi Gras Lady and the Lake Charles Civic Center Box Office in Lake Charles.

Saturday, January 12

*Queens' Pageant
Times Vary. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.

Thursday, January 17, 6-8:30 p.m.

Community Dance
Lake Charles Civic Center Exhibition Hall.

Saturday, February 2

Annual Mardi Gras Run 7 a.m. - until, Gueydan
Annual run sponsored by Le Krewe de la Originals et Les Enfants and the Duck Festival Association. Features an early morning chicken run, lunch, live music, an auction and a dance. Parade begins at 3 p.m. Dance starts at 5 p.m.

Vinton Mardi Gras Celebration 8 a.m. - until
Downtown Vinton. Chicken run kicks off at 8 a.m., followed by a gumbo cook-off at 10 a.m., and a parade at 1 p.m. ending at Knights of Columbus Hall where the gumbo judging will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 5

Krewe of the Golden Years
9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Senior citizens who have passed down Mardi Gras traditions celebrate the season with food and a Mardi Gras ball. Free to seniors 60 and up.

Friday, February 8

Merchant's Parade
Friday, February 8, 7 p.m.
Downtown-Midtown Lake Charles

Saturday, February 9

Carlyss Mardi Gras Trail Ride
Saturday, February 9, 8:30 a.m.
Begins and ends at West Cal Arena in Sulphur. Line up at 6 a.m. Admission fee for trail riders is $5.

*World Famous Cajun Extravaganza and Gumbo Cook-off
Saturday, February 9, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
You will not want to miss this taste-from-every-pot event or the live, hot Southern and Cajun music that comes along with it. Admission is $5. Children 5 and under are admitted free.

Krewe of Omega Parade
Downtown Lake Charles. - Saturday, February 9, 2 p.m.

*Krewe of Barkus Parade
Fantastically disguised canines parade in full Mardi Gras attire, all vying for the title of "Mystical Dog." Entry fee applies.
Saturday, February 9, 3 p.m.

*Zydeco Dance
Live bands playing Mambo and Zydeco.
Saturday, February 9, 3-5 p.m.

Krewe of Cosmos Presentation
The Krewe of Cosmos presents their royal court in style at the Sulphur High School Auditorium with skits, songs and more.
Saturday, February 9, 6:30 p.m.

*Krewe of Illusions
Celebrate Mardi Gras with the 24th annual presentation of the Krewe of Illusions. Tickets are $30 orchestra, formal attire required. $18 balcony reserved seating and $15 standard balcony seating, casual attire.
Saturday, February 9, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 10

*Taste de la Louisiane
Pots and pots of all-you-can-eat traditional Louisiana cuisine for a $7 admission fee.
Sunday, February 10, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

*Children's Day
Old-time Louisiana culture, arts and crafts, Mardi Gras music and magic. An education station complete with safety and health information.
Sunday, February 10, Noon-3 p.m.

Children's Parade
Downtown-Midtown Lake Charles. A purple, green and gold parade for the young and young at heart.
Sunday, February 10, 3:30 p.m.

*Lighted Boat Parade
Be dazzled by the glowing boat parade on shimmering Lake Charles.
Sunday, February 10, 7 p.m.

Monday, February 11

*Royal Gala
The Cinderella moment of the season features the 2013 courts of more than 50 krewes with kings, queens, royal dukes and duchesses, captains, courtesans and jesters. Tickets are $5 in advance, or $6 at the door. Children 5 and under are admitted for free.
7 p.m.

FAT TUESDAY, February 12

Iowa Chicken Run
The chicken run starts and ends at the Knights of Columbus Hall and runs west down Highway 90. Ride a float, catch a chicken and finish with some gumbo and live music for a toe-tapping good time.

Motorcycles, Hot Rods and Classics Parade Downtown-Midtown Lake Charles.
Noon

Krewe of Krewes' Parade
Downtown-Midtown Lake Charles. Hundreds of elaborate krewe floats, costumes, beads and more wind through the city in the culmination of the Fat Tuesday celebration.
5:00 p.m.

*Denotes events taking place at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

Events subject to change. Visit www.swlamardigras.com for the most up-to-date information.