A king cake can be a party in a box, a simple, short-term excuse to gather the gang to divvy up slices and watch for who got the baby (or who’s lying about it).

Now though, the local events calendar also has its official and sometimes hotly-anticipated king cake happenings. They start on Jan. 6, the advent of Carnival season, and they start early.

King Cake Hub debut party

King cake for breakfast? It's not just for Fat Tuesday anymore.

The King Cake Hub, new this year, is wasting no time introducing itself to the king cake-loving public with a Carnival season kick-off party on Sunday morning, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., with a lineup of local bands and a look at its collection of various local king cakes. 

The party continues a kick-off event once held at Pizza NOLA, the Lakeview eatery that developed a dual identity as a distribution point for Dong Phuong king cakes. Pizza NOLA closed last spring, and the King Cake Hub is its founder's new venture. 

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‘If there is a place that is truly haunted, this is it,’ claims creator of Mid City funeral home turned haunted house _lowres

The Mortuary Haunted House on Canal Street.

Housed for Carnival season at the Mortuary Haunted House in Mid-City, King Cake Hub plans to have various king cakes from different area bakers available in one spot. Some of the suppliers include Gambino’s, Cannata’s, Hi-Do Bakery, Bywater Bakery and Girls Gone Vegan (no Dong Phuong, though).

At Sunday morning's party, there will be live music from Benny Grunch and the Bunch, Panorama Brass Band and (the cheekily-named) Professor Carl Nivale.King Cake Hub (at the Mortuary)

4800 Canal St., 504-518-2953

Sunday (Jan. 6), 8 a.m.-10 a.m.

Bywater Bakery King's Day party

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The king cake at Bywater Bakery follows a traditional format and adds distinctive touches within.

The same morning, Bywater Bakery picks up the party theme with its King’s Day King Cake Kick Off, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Now an annual happening at this neighborhood bakery, it brings a music line up worthy of a small festival in its own right. Here’s the schedule:

  • 10 a.m.: Washboard Chaz Duo
  • 11 a.m.: Tom McDermott
  • 12 p.m.: New Orleans Klezmer All Stars
  • 1 p.m.: special guest
  • 2 p.m.: Al “Carnival Time” Johnson
  • 3 p.m.: Super Group Jam with Deacon John, Herlin Riley, Cory Henry, Jawan Boudreaux, backed by Derrick Freeman and Soul Brass Band
  • 4 p.m.: Pinnettes Brass Band

Look also for appearances by Mardi Gras Indians, Baby Dolls, Skeletons and other examples of Carnival time culture. And of course, there are king cakes too, in eight varieties, and a new line of savory king cakes for Bywater Bakery, with boudin, crawfish or spinach and artichoke.

Bywater Bakery

3624 Dauphine St., 504-336-3336

Sunday (Jan. 6), 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

King Cake Festival

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Ashley Michel wears her King Cake shirt during the 5th annual King Cake festival at Champions Square in New Orleans, La. on Jan. 28, 2018.

The annual King Cake Festival, benefiting Ochsner Hospital for Children, transforms Champions Square into a king cake coliseum.

Back again Jan. 27, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., it will assemble more than 20 vendors vying for awards and offering tasting-size slices to the public. The public votes in a range of competitive categories (“most unique,” “most likely to replace a meal,” etc.).

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Phillip Davis and Tiffany Turner wear Mardi Gras beaded outfits during the 5th annual King Cake festival at Champions Square in New Orleans, La. on Jan. 28, 2018. 

Admission is free, and tasting tickets for sale ($20 for 10 tickets).

King Cake Festival

Champions Square

Jan. 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

King Cake Walk

A little later in the season, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art merges its weekly Ogden After Hours concert series with a king cake tasting. It’s called the King Cake Walk (as in the dance, not a walkathon).

The event brings in a wide range of bakeries and restaurants, including some not normally seen in king cake competitions. The public and the night’s band will pick their favorites.

This year’s King Cake Walk is Feb. 7, 6-8 p.m. The regular Ogden After Hours admission applies ($13.50, or free for museum members) and includes samples of cakes.

King Cake Walk

Ogden Museum of Art, 925 Camp St.

Feb. 7, 6-8 p.m.


Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.