Gaily masked characters, wacky parade entries and Cajun cooking will be fill the streets of Nevada City on March 5 and 6. Broad Street will become a West Coast Bourbon Street as merry spectators fill the downtown historic district for the annual family parade starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 6. Colorfully masked and costumed characters and societies will ride, march, dance and strut through the crowd, handing out beads, trinkets and bangles. Visitors are encouraged to wear their own festive Mardi Gras attire. This year?s 19th annual celebration will kick off on Saturday, March 5 with the annual Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball in the historic Miners? Foundry, 325 Spring St. The ball will be held from 8 p.m. to midnight. The Holcomb Brothers Band will provide southern rock dance music. Traditional Cajun food will be available, including Cajun sausage sandwiches, chicken and sausage gumbo, Southern style cole slaw, red beans and rice, bread pudding and Manale Prawns. Masquerade ball tickets are $10 in advance and, if available, $15 at the door.Tickets can be obtained at the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, 132 Main St. A Mardi Gras Street Faire will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Food, drink, craft and clothing vendors will set up on North Pine and Commerce Streets.