If you’re looking for a unique Mardi Gras experience, but don’t want to run over to New Orleans then grab some buds, grab some beads and head to the beach this year. Mardi Gras! Galveston, the third largest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States, offers the unique chance to experience sand between your toes and great beach sunsets while taking in the revelry and lavish parades known to dominate Galveston Island during carnival season.
The island’s 105th Mardi Gras celebration is expected to draw more than 350,000 attendees for more than 30 concerts, 24 parades, 20 balcony parties and multiple elegant balls between January 29 and February 9. This island-style Mardi Gras has plenty of personality, so finding something to stay entertained shouldn’t be a problem.
Galveston’s historic downtown entertainment district will put you in the center of classic Mardi Gras revelry complete with big crowds and plenty of beads. Nearly all parades go through downtown, where you can enjoy the view from the street or from above at a balcony party. Main concert stages are also located downtown, where the event’s headline performances will take place. The festival’s largest parades also run along the beachfront on Seawall Boulevard.
If you’re looking to catch any of the colorful beads to be thrown from parade floats and downtown balconies, you don’t have to stand in the streets to do it. Mardi Gras! Galveston’s elegant side will feature several masked balls where black-tie attire, lavish buffets, live performers, dancing and parade viewing invoke the evening festivities. Popular events include the San Luis Salute hosted by Tilman and Paige Fertitta and The Tremont House’s A&M Mardi Gras Parade Viewing Party.
Sunday, January 31 is Family Gras at Mardi Gras! Galveston, featuring live family entertainment, two kids parades, a kids coloring contest and more. Donations will be taken at the gate to benefit The Sunshine Kids and Shriners Hospitals for Children. The family friendly activities will continue Sunday, Feb. 7 with the Krewe of Barkus & Meoux pet parade and Mardi Gras Children’s Parade on the Seawall among other events.
Electric Mardi Gras will return in 2016 with an expanded area at 21st and Mechanic streets in downtown Galveston. This area will provide one big party for lovers of electronic dance music, with continuous concerts, beat-thumping DJs and laser light shows on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the celebration!
Tickets to Mardi Gras! Galveston are already on sale, so you want to be sure to plan ahead.