Mardi Gras in Cleveland, Ohio

by Jade Blue
Enjoy a number of Mardi Gras activities in Cleveland, Ohio.

Enjoy a number of Mardi Gras activities in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Mardi Gras in Cleveland, Ohio, is becoming increasingly important, according to city residents. In 2008, Cleveland became the official sister city of Rouen, a city in northern France. France has celebrated Mardi Gras during the month of February since the Middle Ages. Bars, restaurants and museums in Cleveland allow residents and visitors to celebrate in a big way.

Cleveland's Beginnings

There was a time when no one could have imagined Mardi Gras in Cleveland, Ohio. The Connecticut Land Company founded the city in 1796. Named after a company investor, clerical errors resulted in the city being named Cleveland, instead of Cleaveland. After Word War II, the area went through a period of economic decline and had financial problems until 1987. During the 90s, the Cleveland Indians baseball team gained popularity. The Browns football team was reborn. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame brought life back to the city, allowing Cleveland to become an important economic and cultural center once again.

Bars / Restaurants

Restaurants and bars offer special drinks and dining selections. Cleveland residents flock to Fat Fish Blue (no website; 21 Prospect Ave., Cleveland; 216-875-6000), a jazz-themed restaurant specializing in Hurricanes, the official drink of Mardi Gras. Sergio's Sarava ( hosts Brazilian Carnival, featuring black bean stew and drinks made with sugar cane liqueur. Paladar ( offers three weeks of food and drink specials, culminating with live musical performances on Fat Tuesday. Diners receive masks -- a Mardi Gras staple. Fat Tuesday marks the end of all celebrations. At sunrise, Lent, 40-day period of prayer and fasting, begins.

Jazz Clubs

The jazz scene in Cleveland evolved after New Orleans musicians moved north after World War I. The musical scene thrived during the 40s and 50s, but almost disappeared during the 1970s. The 90s saw a number of award-winning jazz artists emerge from the area. Visit local jazz clubs for a more relaxing celebration. The Mardi Gras Jazz Club (no website; 1417 E 21st St., Cleveland; 216-771-4760) features performances from popular jazz and blues artists. Guests enjoy late-night breakfast selections and Greek entrees.


The Cleveland Museum of Art ( offers different programs including musical direction and mask decoration, allowing individuals or groups to march in the Cleveland Mardi Gras parade. As of July 2011, the registration fee to walk in the parade is $6. Registration fees for classes providing instruction on costume, mask and puppet creation are $50 per person and $150 for a family of four. Additional participants are $25 each.

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