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Students at Good Sheperd Academy, Jilliam DelBalso, Hanna Jones, Keira Nilson, Stan Wateski, Abby Charneski, Cecilia Jakubczyk, Livia Moore, Nate Remski and Tyler Stiles, get into the Mardi Gras spirit as plans gear up for a Mardi Gras Madness celebration at their Kingston school on Sunday.

CLARK VAN ORDEN/THE TIMES LEADER

OK, no more bubblegum for 8-year-old Cecilia Jakubczyk. • No more iced tea for her 11-year-old brother, Jacob. • For the 40 days of Lent, the pre-Easter season that begins Wednesday, the two siblings from Plymouth plan to refrain from those treats as a sacrifice. • But before they embark on 40 days grown-ups might describe as a time of prayer and contemplation, they’re going to have a “Mardi Gras Madness” party on Sunday afternoon at Good Shepherd Academy in Kingston.

“We’re gonna have a lot of fun, and food,” said 8-year-old Nate Remski of Courtdale, one of several schoolmates eagerly anticipating a feast before the fast.

Mardi Gras Madness isn’t just for the students and their families, organizer and mom Debbie Jakubczyk said, but for the entire community, who, she hopes, will enjoy a pasta dinner, face painting, duck pond, lollipop tree, various games and a chance to win more than 30 raffle baskets that often contain more than what immediately meets the eye.

“This one includes a trip to New York and a comedy show,” she said, pointing out a basket filled with fresh apples to symbolize the Big Apple.

The Good Shepherd affair isn’t the only Mardi Gras party planned this week.

Fat Tuesday also will be celebrated in a big way at Gober’s Deco Lounge in Exeter, starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, with a party hosted by the Wyoming Area Kiwanis.

The Cajun buffet will include fried chicken, southern-style green beans, cheddar jalapeno cornbread and traditional Mardi Gras king cake, said Sarah Mangan of Exeter, sister of the organizer.

“Many folks attend the event simply wearing their finest in gold, purple, and/or green,” Mangan said. “Some go the extra mile for their favorite Mardi Gras masks, hats, boas and beads.”

Masks and beads will be available at the door as well, she added, and local duo CNR will provide live entertainment.

Earlier that day, volunteers at Trinity Episcopal Church in West Pittston will celebrate Shrove Tuesday with a homestyle pancake, sausage and egg dinner from 3:30 to 7 p.m.

“The tradition for Shrove Tuesday dinners came about because Christians would use up ingredients like eggs and fat and sugar before starting the Lenten season, which is a time of fasting and prayer in preparation for the celebration of Easter,” the Rev. John Major said.

“You get everything out of the way, out of the house — everything that might encourage you to break the fast,” he explained. “We’re ridding ourselves of the extras.”

The church invites the public to come and socialize. “It’s really aligned with our parish mission,” Major said, “to build community in the neighborhood and the region.”

On this final weekend before Lent, other local celebrations are planned at St. Nicholas Church in Wilkes-Barre, which will have a German-style buffet and live orchestra at Saturday’s 46th annual German Nite (doors open at 6 p.m.), and at St. Maria Goretti Church in Laflin, where a homemade pasta and sausage dinner will be served from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Christ United Methodist Church of Mountain Top will hold a “Fat Sunday Fund-raiser” at noon Sunday, serving soup and bread and auctioning off dessert.

If you go

If you want to feast before the fast:

Mardi Gras Madness, with games, prizes and a pasta dinner, Good Shepherd Academy, 315 N. Maple Ave., Kingston. 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. 718-4724

Mardi Gras at Gober’s Deco Lounge, 1248 Wyoming Ave., Exeter. 6:30 to 11 p.m. Tuesday. 655-3929

Shrove Tuesday pancake, sausage and egg dinner, Trinity Episcopal Church, Montgomery and Spring streets, West Pittston. 3:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday

Homemade Pasta and Sausage dinner, St. Maria Goretti banquet room, Laflin Road, Laflin. Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

German Nite, St. Nicholas Church hall, 226 S. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre. Doors open at 6 p.m. Walt Groller Orchestra to play from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. $25. 823-7736.

Fat Sunday Fund-raiser, Christ United Methodist Church, 175 S. Main Road, Mountain Top, noon Sunday, soup and bread served, desserts auctioned off. 474-6060.

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