The Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo Cook-off in Manitou Springs' Soda Springs Park is one of the best times of the year, mainly because there are peppery roux, boiling crawfish, and bowls of rice aplenty. And as somebody who has served as judge for the event in years past, I can tell you that, like everything the city does, it's a very Manitou time: colorful characters; unique sights and sounds; and all the Louisiana State University swag you can stomach. (Oh yeah, and gumbo tastings two for $1.)
And though the event's coming up right quick, on Saturday, Feb. 9, there's still time for folks to enter the amateur division (as opposed to the professionals cooking from area restaurants). There is no entry fee, though pre-registration is required, and you could take some cold, hard trophy (or, you know, cash).
"After the Gumbo Cook Off the Annual Mardi Gras Carnivale Parade will begin up Manitou Avenue starting at Memorial Park," reads a press release. "This years [sic] theme is 'Lucky 13.' Participation in the parade is free ... Just arrive at Memorial Park starting at noon. No Motorized Vehicles Allowed!"