Some of Asheville’s finest cooking can’t be found in a restaurant. It’s available but once a year, when the local Mardi Gras community gets together for its annual Cajun Cookoff fundraiser.

For $10, you can come and heap your bowl with gumbo, chowder, crawfish pie, jambalaya and everything our Louisiana transplants learned to make better than we did. Proceeds go to Asheville Mardi Gras, which earned its nonprofit status last year. For five years, the group has organized and presented the annual February Mardi Gras parade — a colorful boost to the winter landscape for the past five years.

The cookoff features a silent auction of “arts and oddities,” and it’s a good time to get in on the Asheville Mardi Gras krewe with a yearly membership.

This year’s event is held on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m. at Tressa’s Downtown Jazz and Blues on Broadway. And the downtown parade will be on Bacchus Sunday, Feb. 10. Learn more at — Rebecca Sulock

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