PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine may be about 1,600 miles away from New Orleans, but that doesn't mean Mardi Gras celebrations are far away.

All over Southern Maine Tuesday there were jazz performances, King Cakes, and Cajun cooking.

USM Portland hosted its annual Cajun Cookin' Challenge, where local restaurants competed for best Cajun dish. The event raised money for WMPG community radio.

Downtown Portland bar Brian Boru started a Fat Tuesday tradition: holding its first Mardi Gras Costume Ball.

The band Fat Tuesday performed New Orleans style jazz music.

Manager Daniel Steele said it may become an annual event.

"[It's an] opportunity to celebrate," said Steele. "Especially in Portland, it's been a long witner and we need a little sunlight and frivolity around."

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