"Fat Tuesday" in the Big Easy and here, in Rochester - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

"Fat Tuesday" in the Big Easy and here, in Rochester

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- For many Tuesday marked the last time they'll let loose before the beginning of Lent. It's "Fat Tuesday" and hundreds of thousands of people are flocking to the "Big Easy" to get in on some fun.

This years celebration is supposed to be the best since Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. While there's a lot of fun to be had in the south, it was a lot harder to find Mardi Gras events here in southeastern Minnesota.

The day commemorates the last "hurrah" for many Catholics before Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. It's all about sharing good music, food and drink. In the Big Easy people lined the streets in colorful costumes, with masks and plenty of beads as they watched parades.

Locally, Whistle Binkies North and South in Rochester joined in on the Mardi Gras festivities with entertainment and a unique menu of authentic dishes.

"Some bead people come in, not a lot of costumes we don't get. We're just trying to build this thing a little bit but defiantly people are buying the food and they're having the specials, the gumbo has been moving good today," said Whistle Binkies South, Chef Michael Byers.

Bakeries around the area, like HyVee sold a Polish favorite, Paczki. The deep-fried piece of dough is usually filled with apples, blueberries and other fruits.

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