Get Ready For Outdoor Festivities at Red River’s Annual Mardi Gras in The Mountains

If you think New Orleans is the only place to celebrate Mardi Gras, I have a well-kept secret for you.  No one celebrates Mardi Gras like Red River, New Mexico’s Mardi Gras in the Mountains! It’s the perfect place for all age groups to enjoy winter activities, sports and traditional Mardi Gras festivities.

For those of you not quite familiar with this annual celebration, Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” also called Shrove Tuesday. It starts the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Christian Lent season leading up to Easter.  And its history goes back hundreds of years to the Cajun and Creole celebrations that originated in New Orleans.


This year the Mardi Gras in the Mountains theme is Fifty Shades of Red.  It kicks off on February 20th and runs through February 25 – Fat Tuesday!  The non-stop event promises something for everyone and offers all things Cajun and Creole – food, music, contests and bead throwing straight from the Bayou.


The event kicks off with a parade down Main Street followed by the annual burning of the Tchoupitoulas (Old Man Gloom), a fictional character to dissipate everyone’s stress.  Attendees are encouraged to write down their troubles and worries and toss them into the fire. It is a happy gathering to continue positivity throughout the rest of the year.  Once that is done, Mardi Gras in the Mountains can officially begin! Many other events to keep the party going include:


Mardi Gras Grand Ball and Costume Contest

No matter how you choose to celebrate there is a costume ball each night but the Grand Ball is the most magnificent of them all.  The big event is held at the Red River Conference center and includes live Cajun music, dancing and a Mardi Gras costume contest. Dress up for your chance to win a trophy from the Chamber of Commerce (and bragging rights).

Mardi Gras Festivities for the Young – Children’s Ball

Red River is known for a family-friendly atmosphere so it’s only fitting that they have a ball especially for kids.  Children are encouraged to wear their costumes and beads. This event entertains adults and kids alike.

Mardi Gras Music and Food Everywhere

The streets and venues will hosts sounds straight from the bayous.  Cajun and Zydeco rhythms will get you dancing and swaying long into the night.  Multiple bands will be playing throughout Red River so you’ll never miss a beat.

Eat, Drink and Be Festive!

Throughout the Mardi Gras in the Mountains festival, the tastes and aroma of delectable Cajun food will be in abundance.  Get ready to eat lots of shrimp, gumbo, crawfish, Creole crab cakes, dirty rice, red rice and beans, and the traditional King cake.  

You can also participate in the famed Red River Mardi Gras in the Mountains Drink Making contest.  It’s one of the most well known and competitive events during Mardi Gras in the festival. Participants from all around show up to demonstrate creative mixology and put on a show while doing so.  Judges for the contest are chosen at random before the event beings, so get there early, find a seat and be entered in the drawing.


Don’t fight crowds in New Orleans this year. Instead, get off the main grid and celebrate Mardi Gras in the Mountains. The breathtaking backdrop of Red River, New Mexico will enchant you just as much as the festival will. Bring your family or travel with friends! There is something for everyone.  Visit  for a place to stay and don’t forget to make it easy on yourself by ordering groceries ahead to be in your unit when you arrive.