LOTO Mardi Gras Pub Crawl to celebrate 12 years Feb. 16

Hundreds of Lake Area visitors and residents enjoy the annual Lake of the Ozarks Mardi Gras Pub Crawl, as these friends did at Chevy’s Bar & Grill, one of the event’s participating venues.

Hundreds of Lake Area visitors and residents enjoy the annual Lake of the Ozarks Mardi Gras Pub Crawl, as these friends did at Chevy’s Bar & Grill, one of the event’s participating venues. Photo by Samantha Edmondson.

A night of entertainment, food and fun awaits guests, Saturday, Feb. 16, at the 12th Annual Lake of the Ozarks Mardi Gras Pub Crawl.

The 12th Annual Mardi Gras Pub Crawl has become one of the Lake's most popular winter activities and continues to draw increasingly larger crowds each year. Last year, the event had an estimated attendance of more than 6,000, with even more expected this year.

"Our festival is helping to attract more and more winter visitors to the Lake every year," said Mardi Gras Pub Crawl organizer Jeff Carroll. "A lot of people who attend the festival reserve a room and schedule a weekend getaway around the event. This year, with Presidents' Day, they'll have a three-day weekend to shop, sightsee and explore. Winter is a beautiful time at the Lake and this event allows us to showcase a lot of the great things we have to offer. We have great fishing in the winter. We're the home of the largest outlet mall in Missouri. We also have five wineries and two state parks. And if the weather is good, you can golf at one or more of our 15 area courses. And I'm only mentioning a few of the attractions we have in the area. I think visitors are discovering that the Lake of the Ozarks is a year-around travel destination."

Eleven years ago, the Mardi Gras Pub Crawl started with just eight locations and four 16-passenger buses. This year, patrons will have the convenience of 26 full-sized buses, the variety of 20 nightspots and restaurants and the assurance of a safe, fun evening.

"Our message to our guests is to ride the bus, be safe and have fun," said Carroll. "We're all about safety and responsibility. We just want to make sure that everyone has a good time. I think one of the reasons that our pub crawl is so popular is because we offer safe transportation to and from each location from start to finish. We have a uniformed security guard on each bus and we work closely with the local police department to make sure that when you attend the Mardi Gras Pub Crawl, you can put your keys away and have a fantastic worry-free evening out on the town."

To ride the buses, festival-goers must purchase a $7 wristband that includes entry into all participating restaurants and nightspots, bus transportation between all pub crawl locations and pick ups/drop offs at participating hotels, motels and resorts. A wristband can be purchased in advance or on the night of the event at restaurants/nightspots on the route.

The fleet of 26 buses will transport attendees on a continuous circuit of all 20 bars and restaurants. The buses will make numerous stops at each venue and will make drop-offs at hotels, motels and resorts. Buses begin departing from partner hotels, motels and resorts at 3 p.m. and will run on the circuit until 2:30 a.m.

Most Mardi Gras Pub Crawl venues will have live entertainment. Some will feature live rock, blues and country music, while other locations have DJs and/or karaoke. The restaurants on the festival's bus route are an eclectic mix of food options for guests, including Mexican cuisine, prime rib, seafood, Ozark-style barbeque, Chicago-style pizza and much more. Shuttle riders also will be able to collect Mardi Gras beads and other themed souvenirs along the route.

For overnight accommodations, live entertainment and dining options, please visit the festival's website at LakeAreaPubCrawl.com, or visit FunLake.com. For the latest Lake of the Ozarks Mardi Gras Pub Crawl news, like the event's Facebook page at Facebook.com/LakePubCrawl.

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