New Orleanians are constantly comparing king cakes this time of year. It’s the topic of conversation each time one materializes in the office break room, on the kitchen counter or at the parade party.

This week, however, brings two separate events with different ways to size up an entire field of king cakes, as well-known brands and up-and-coming contenders vie for king cake crowns.

King Cake Walk 

On Thursday (Jan. 25), the Ogden Museum of Southern Art will merge its weekly Ogden After Hours concert series with a king cake tasting. Called the King Cake Walk, the event brings in a wide range of bakeries and restaurants, including Emeril's and Meril, Cake Café, Tartine, Caluda's, Haydel's Bakery, Gracious Bakery + Café, Maurice’s French Pastries and Bittersweet Confections.

The roots rock band Dave Jordan & the NIA will perform an acoustic set.

The regular Ogden After Hours admission applies ($13.50, or free for museum members) and includes samples of cakes. Winners will be selected by audience choice and by a guest chef judge.

King Cake Walk

Thursday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp St.

King Cake Festival 

On Sunday (Jan. 28), Champions Square becomes a king cake coliseum as bakers compete in the King Cake Festival.

The annual event, which benefits Ochsner Hospital for Children, brings nearly two-dozen vendors into the fold. They range from grocery stores like Dorignac’s Food Center, Winn-Dixie and Rouses, to mom-and-pop bake shops, like Mr. Ronnie’s Famous Hot Donuts, Bywater Bakery and Loretta’s Authentic Pralines.

Taste king cakes and vote on the favorite at the King Cake Festival starting at 10 a.m. Sunday at Champions Square at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Benefiting Ochsner Hospital for Children, the fest includes music and contests. kingcakefestival.org. Advocate file photo by ZACH BRIEN

The public gets to vote in a range of competitive categories (“most unique,” “most likely to replace a meal,” etc.). Tasting-sized portions encourage broad sampling around the grounds. Admission is free, and tasting tickets for sale ($10 for 10 tickets).

There’s a Game Zone for kids to work off some of that cake throughout the event, and you can start the day with some exercise at the festival’s Gladiator Rep Run (with workout stations across its route) and a 1-mile fun run/walk. For registration and more event details, see kingcakefestival.org.

King Cake Festival

Sunday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Rep Run and Fun Run at 8:30 a.m.)

Champions Square at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome

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Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.