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Despite Carnival and Mardi Gras’ Europeans roots, their best-known celebrations happen in places like Brazil, the Caribbean, and New Orleans—culturally dynamic corners of the African diaspora. The Anacostia Museum’s “Carnival ’98 Masquerade Ball” seizes on this tradition, promising food from Creole shrimp to jerk beef and music from jazz to calypso. Bidders at a concurrent silent auction can one-up the diners by winning tickets to the Caribbean to eat their meat patties on location. Of course, if you wind up bidding on something you can’t afford, don’t worry about the authorities catching you: Revelers are encouraged to come disguised as personalities from African-American history, in African garb, or in both mask and black tie. At 8 p.m. at the Smithsonian Castle, 1000 Jefferson Dr. SW. $75 (proceeds benefit Anacostia Museum & Smithsonian Center for African-American History and Culture). For reservations call (202) 357-2286. (Michael Schaffer)