Being a kid from a heavily Lutheran Wisconsin meant that I didn't have any experience with Fat Tuesday until I became an adult in a bigger city. I was aware of the period between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, but didn't see any parades and didn't know anyone who gave something up for the holiday. I love how the name, even in foreign languages, is basically about giving something up starting Wednesday. In Germany, it's Fastnacht, which means "night before the fast." The word Carnivale in Latin means "goodbye meat."
In Chicago, people eat Pączki to celebrate the day. Maybe it's because I'm not a native, but to me they're just doughnuts. More specifically, they remind me of eclairs, probably because I've had the Bavarian cream stuffed ones. In effect, they are the Polish way to use up the fat and other ingredients being forgone during Lent so they don't go to waste.
I am probably not going to partake in any Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras festivities. Mainly because I don't want to eat a lot of heavy foods, or drink a lot. I may use Lent as an impetus to remove a few negatives from my diet and see if I can maintain the changes for the full 40 days. Those six weeks should make any changes I start tomorrow into habits by Easter. Even if they don't become habits, at least I will have improved my diet for a while.