Arena District throws Mardi Gras party


The Arena District’s Mardi Gras Celebration features beads, masks, music, dancing — and food and drink specials. Photo via

Fourteen downtown nightspots in the Arena District are gearing up for Lent by hosting a Mardi Gras celebration from 4-11 p.m. on Tuesday.

This is the second year the Arena District is holding the event, which is designed to promote the downtown business community.

Events like Mardi Gras help to position the city as a Midwest arts and cultural hub and make downtown accessible for everyone, said Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Kris Larson.

“To our knowledge, this is the only large scale public Mardi Gras celebration within our community. Similar events have proven to be popular and successful throughout the country," said Dennis Moosebrugger, Arena District president and co-owner of Bar Divani, to the DDA in December. "The Mardi Gras celebration will, ideally, serve to establish Grand Rapids as a regional hub for Fat Tuesday festivities."

The event is free and open to the public. Free Mardi Gras beads will be handed out, and Fat Tuesday masks will be for sale

Businesses across the district will participate in the Mardi Gras activities: The B.O.B., Bar Divani, J. Gardella’s Tavern, McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon, Rockwell Republic, Ritz Koney, HopCat, LB’s Lounge, Peppino’s Sports Lounge, CitySen Lounge, Buffalo Wild Wings, Stella’s Lounge and the Grand Rapids Brewing Co.

The event will feature food and drink specials at the participating venues and live entertainment: about 30 musicians will roam the streets going from venue to venue; the Laura Amenta Belly Dancers will dance and fire performers and neon hula-hoopers will also be on hand.

David Molinari and Creolization and Jimmy Stagger will play at Bar Divani, at 15 Ionia Ave. SW.

The B.O.B., at 20 Monroe Ave. NW, will feature Zydacrunch and also host a gumbo challenge beginning at 4 p.m.

The DDA awarded the event $3,000 in financial support, money the Arena District is spending on the music portion of the event.

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