HAVRE DE GRACE — Experience a traditional Mardi Gras celebration on Bourbon Street, just not the one in New Orleans.
Restaurant week began on Tuesday and runs until Mardi Gras, March 4, with a focus on food from the French Quarter. The week includes the first MasquerAid Ball, which benefits the renovation of the Havre de Grace Opera House, and culminates with the Mardi Gras parade down Havre de Grace’s Bourbon Street.
This is the first time Havre de Grace’s restaurant week has concentrated on celebrating the food of a certain region, said Brigitte Peters, marketing and tourism manger for Havre de Grace.
“We want a little bit of that French Quarter to come to Havre de Grace,” said Peters, noting the town’s ties to French history. During the Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette visited the area, inspiring the town to be named after the French port city of Le Havre.
That history is the inspiration for specials on the restaurant week menus of several local establishments, including Bayou, Coakley’s Pub, Laurrapin Grille, Macgregor’s Restaurant, Tidewater Grille and the Vandiver Inn.
In addition to specialized menus for restaurant week, some eateries will host special events. On Monday, the Vandiver will be a holding Mardi Gras themed “Fat Monday Supper Club” with menu items that include Lily’s Famous Gumbo, Spicy Shrimp, Cheesy Grits, Potato Salad, and Bananas Foster. Participating restaurants will also cater the MasquerAid Ball on Saturday.
Mardi Gras madness will be in full swing on Tuesday. Earlier this week, volunteers organized more than 8,000 bags of beads for organizations to toss during the parade, said Peters.
Parade Floats will be constructed by local businesses and artisans.
Peters promised the floats in the parade would wow onlookers. The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum has a float with a “Dynasty” theme celebrating the 1980s soap opera, while the Laurrapin Grille will celebrate eating local with a float covered in papier-mâché cows and pigs, said Peters.
“The floats are incredible,” said Peters.
The parade will start at 6:30 p.m. on Fat Tuesday. The parade will proceed from Bourbon Street, Washington Street and onto St. John Street.
Following the parade, restaurants and bars around town will close the night with food specials and music. The Methodist Church on Congress Avenue will be hosting a traditional Shrove (Fat) Tuesday dinner prior to the parade from 5 to 7 p.m.
For more information on Havre de Grace’s Mardi Gras celebrations, go to www.hdgtourism.com or call 1-800-851-7756.