Lent kicks off on March 2 and that means it's time to get ready for all your favorite local fish frys — and it's time to party like it's Mardi Gras until then.
This weekend, there's plenty of New Orleans-inspired fun to be had. And if beads and Hurricane cocktails aren't your thing, there's also plenty of live theater, a MidCentury Modern shopping event and a home and garden show.
Here are 11 things to do this weekend.
Friday, Feb. 25Cincinnati Ballet's Cinderella
Based on the enchanting 1697 fairy tale by Charles Perrault, Cinderella weaves together romance, magic and beautiful costuming on the Music Hall stage. With elaborate sets and a pumpkin that transforms into a carriage, Cincinnati Ballet dancers tell the story of a young woman with big dreams, her prince charming and a couple of evil stepsisters. Thank goodness for Fairy Godmothers. The ballet says audiences should expect to become part of the story. Through Feb. 27. Tickets start at $29. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cballet.org.
Lilly Hiatt at the Southgate House Revival
It was something of a surprise when Lilly Hiatt dropped Lately, her fifth album of countrified singer/songwriter Rock & Roll in October 2021. It had been just 17 months since her last record, , which drew praise from everyone from Paste to Pitchfork. The 10 songs that populate Lately are often stripped back and stark, relying on straightforward lyrics both personal and universal. 8 p.m. doors Feb. 25. $15. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, southgatehouse.com.
March First Fifth Anniversary
March First Brewing is turning five on March 1 and they are celebrating by throwing parties all weekend themed after their favorite events they've hosted throughout the years. On Friday, they're paying homage to their Proofed Craft Spirits Festival with samples of house-distilled spirits and fun cocktails. On Saturday, they are throwing a tiny Ciderpalooza with a bonus pig roast. Enjoy March First ciders on tap including maple bourbon, mango habanero and bananas foster. On Sunday, celebrate their seltzers with unique and exclusive flavors including birthday cake, rainbow sherbet, ecto cooler, tropical punch and a mystery offering. Events continue on Monday (featuring a "Stout Blowout") and Tuesday with live music and the release of their Baltic Porter Cask Finished Bourbon. Feb. 25-March 1. Free admission. 7885 E. Kemper Road, Sycamore Township, facebook.com.
Sam Mihara: Memories of Five Nisei at Campbell County Public Library
Sam Mihara, a second-generation Japanese American and former Boeing rocket scientist, is heading to the Fort Thomas Branch of the Campbell County Public Library to discuss America's Japanese internment camps during World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which allowed the forced relocation of more than 100,000 Japanese Americans, in February of 1942. Eighty years later, Mihara discusses his experience as a child in a California detention camp and Wyoming prison camp. The library says that Mihara's lecture — his first in Kentucky, although he has spoken across the globe — will "explore the cause for the forced removal of Japanese people from the West Coast; why Germans and Italians in the rest of the country were treated differently; the camp's conditions; what living there was like; lessons learned; and poses the question of if it can happen again." 7 p.m. Feb. 25. Free but registration/tickets required. 1000 Highland Ave., Fort Thomas, cc-pl.org.
Saturday, Feb. 2620th Century Cincinnati
This MidCentury Modern show and sale promises a weekend of "avant-garde art, architecture, furnishings, decor and fashions that emerged between WW I and the Information Age." Take a step back in time and stroll aisle after aisle of goods ranging from paintings, pottery and posters to ephemera, jewelry and apparel. More than 50 dealers will be on hand. Prices range from high-end to impulse buy, making it a vintage modern show for both avid collectors in search of iconic pieces and curious shoppers alike. A face mask is required for entry. Vendors and staff have been vaccinated or had a negative COVID test. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 26 and 27*. $10 covers both Saturday and Sunday. Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Road, Sharonville, queencityshows.com.
Cincinnati Home and Garden Show
More than 400 experts will be in one spot with both ideas and services for hire, whether you're looking for landscaping inspiration or help renovating kitchens or bathrooms. Promenade through more than 10,000-square-feet of "Feature Gardens" that display innovative landscape design for gardens and patios. Those who are ready to start a new project are encouraged to come with ideas, pictures and examples to discuss with professional designers for practical advice at the “Ask a Designer” area. 10 a.m. -9 p.m. Feb. 26; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 27; 11 a.m. -8 p.m. March 3 and 4; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. March 5; and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. March 6. $14; save $2 by purchasing tickets online. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown, cincinnatihomeandgardenshow.com.
MainStrasse Mardi Gras Parade
MainStrasse is celebrating Mardi Gras with a parade and party this Saturday. The traditional parade features a raucous collection of floats, Big Heads (people wearing literal large papier-mâché heads), circus performers and various wandering intoxicated people weaving through the town. The parade steps off at Ninth and Philadelphia streets and ends at Fifth and Main streets. The event also promises beads and a light show. Afterward, pub crawl through MainStrasse as different bars will be offering up their own version of the New Orleans favorite Hurricane cocktail. Parade kicks-off at 7 p.m. Feb. 26. MainStrasse Village, Covington, facebook.com/MainStrasseVillage.
Mardi Gras at MadTree
MadTree is channeling the Big Easy this Saturday with Swing music from the Jazz Coasters and a special cocktail. Guests will each get a set of Mardi Gras beads with the purchase of a Hurricane-esque "Eye of the Storm." The drink features light and dark rum, grenadine, passionfruit, lime and soda water. 7-11 p.m. Feb. 26. Free admission. 3301 Madison Road, Oakley, facebook.com.
Maplefest at Cincinnati Nature Center
Tap into tree power this weekend and explore all the magic maple trees have to offer. This family-friendly fest includes maple beer and food samples, games, crafts and stories. Try some maple syrup "still warm from the evaporator," and wander through the sugarbush to learn more about maple trees. Guides will share tales and legends about the history of syrup making. Some food and drink samples are included with admission; some are not. Preregistration required. 2-6 p.m. Feb. 26. $18 nonmembers; $12 Cincinnati Nature Center members; $11 non-member children; $5 member children. 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford, facebook.com.
Sunday, Feb. 27Rooted at the Playhouse in the Park
Deborah Zoe Laufer’s world premiere play, Rooted is a beguiling work. At first, its three offbeat women feel a bit like characters in a sitcom, and they’re certainly the source of much laugh-out-loud humor. But before long, a rather profound message about belief and connection comes through, making this 95-minute show genuinely satisfying. Emery Harris is an eccentric amateur botanist. She’s lived in a treehouse for more than a decade, accessible only by climbing a rope and entering through a hatch that she keeps tightly secured. Despite her lack of scientific training, she’s been conducting experiments to communicate with plants and posting her research on YouTube. As it turns out, Emery’s research has developed a significant online following of people looking for emotional healing. Through March 20. Ticket starts at $30. Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com.
Hamlet at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Actress Sara Clark plays the titular role of the tragic Danish prince in this Shakespeare classic. Hamlet's father, the king, dies under mysterious circumstances only to have his brother — Hamlet's uncle — ascend the throne and steal his queen. A story of revenge unfolds as Hamlet attempts to expose the villainy of his uncle. Cincy Shakes says, "Incest and intrigue, murder and madness, triumph and treachery all combine to paint one of the most complex and compelling portraits in all of English literature." Face masks and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test required. Through March 20. $25. 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincyshakes.com.