For many people, when they think about a Mardi Gras celebration, they think New Orleans is the only place to be. But I know there are a lot of Texans who would challenge that opinion. Especially down in Galveston.
While you can find Mardi Gras parties and events all over the state, Galveston is host to the biggest and most authentic celebration in Texas. This year marks the 101st carnival in this Gulf Coast locale and they do it up BIG! The good times have been rolling there since February 10th, leading up to some big events this weekend and climaxing on the 21st, Fat Tuesday.
The fun-filled events include concerts, multiple parades, balcony parties and several fancy, formal balls. Mardi Gras revelers will be dressed in costume as they wander the streets, listening to bands which will perform on the two stages set up in the Entertainment District. Attendees will also be treated to several parades and processions, concluding with the Mystic Krewe of Aquarius parade on “Fat Tuesday” in the historic Strand District.
First off, a quick primer for anyone who isn't quite sure what all the hoopla is about. The phrase "Mardi Gras" is French for "Fat Tuesday." For those who follow Catholic traditions, it is the last day to indulge before Ash Wednesday kicks off the solemn weeks of fasting and restraint of Lent. Also referred to as "Carnival", this fun celebration is recognized around the world and throughout the U.S.
The main event of any Mardi Gras celebration is a parade featuring floats, musicians, and costumed marchers. Many of the festivities that are taking place in Galveston benefit local organizations within the island. For example, the Royal Krewe of Barkus & Meoux hold a pets parade that benefits the Galveston Island Humane Society and the Krewe d'Esprit Rosaire raises money for the Holy Family Parish with their Youth Pageant and a Parade. If you haven’t already made plans to party it up in Galveston this weekend, you’ll need to act quickly because events are filling up quickly and selling out. However, there are lots of activities still available.For more information, visit www.MardiGrasGalveston.com.
If Galveston is just out of reach for you this year, here are some other places in Texas where the food and drink will be flowing and the beads will be flying:
Fredericksburg | Fasching/Winter Karneval – Mardi Gras with a German flair!
Dallas | Mardi Gras, Texas Style: This all-day festival at Fair Park hosts 28 of the best Texas Red Dirt bands like Eli Young Band, Josh Abbott, Jason Boland, Reckless Kelly and more.
San Antonio | BUD LIGHT Mardi Gras River Parade and Festival: Do it “River Walk style”! A procession of decorated floats will parade down the River as krewes of costumed revelers and live musicians entertain.
Jefferson | Mardi Gras Upriver – parades, live music and events for children.