Let the frivolity begin at Galveston’s 104th Mardi Gras celebration

Photo courtesy of Galveston CVB

By Megan O’Malley

Revel in the festivity that draws nearly 300,000 people to the island’s annual Mardi Gras celebration. With 22 parades, balcony parties, live music and a fun run, we will highlight the top events you don’t want to miss from Friday, February 6 through Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

The best way to navigate Mardi Gras is to first pick which events you are most interested in. Many of the parades begin on the Seawall and end downtown. During the daytime, although drinking and other shenanigans are sure to happen, it is a family friendly atmosphere. The Strand welcomes families and partiers alike during the day and turns into a more rambunctious crowd at night. With all the events, factor in time to find parking and be prepared to do a lot of walking. You will want to arrive early to secure a prime spot to view parades.

The Strand is a must see during Mardi Gras. With balcony parties happening all day and night, this is a great place to catch beads and dance to live music. Delicious food stands will be set up with funnel cakes, fried alligator on a stick and all the Cajun treats you can imagine. There is no open container law on the Strand so patrons are welcome to revel in the festivity with a drink in hand. The Downtown Entertainment District will be roped off from traffic and a general admission ticket is required.

Live Music Lineup

If you are a music fan, be sure to stop by Sangerfest Park on The Strand. Forty bands will be performing over the two weeks with big names like Danielle Bradbery and local favorites like The Line Up. The concerts are included in the price of a general admission ticket to the Entertainment District. Click here for a complete list of performers and times.

Balcony Parties

If you don’t mind paying a little extra, balcony parties are the best place to watch the parades. They offer a great eagle’s eye view, serve food and drinks and often have a band of their own. You can throw beads from the balcony and likely have a table to sit down and rest your feet. They serve as a great “home base”. Click here for more information about the balcony parties.

Mardi Gras Galveston Krewes & Parades

With so many parades and fun events to choose from, we highlighted our favorites. So put on your purple, green and gold and grab your beads, boas and jester hats and head down to Galveston. Bead there or be square!

Friday, February 6, 2015

  • Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade Parade – Bring your friends, family and wackiest umbrella to the Downtown Entertainment District for this free event. March along the brigade and don’t forget to enter your umbrella into the best decorated contest. 8pm.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

  • Jolly Jester Jaunt 5K and Fun Run – This untimed run is a great way to see the Historic District of Galveston while getting some light exercise and enjoying a beer. The first 500 people get a T-shirt and jester hat and fun costumes are encouraged! This event is family-friendly. 11am.
  • Krewe of Aquarius Parade – This is the island’s largest daytime parade. It begins on the Seawall and travels downtown. This is a great parade for families to observe on the seawall or for adults to spend downtown where there is not an open container law. Cheer for beads as the floats and marching bands flow through the streets. Noon.
  • Krewe of Gambrinus Parade – This night time parade with 12 lighted floats, multiple marching bands and more than 650,000 beads to throw is sure to be a good time. The parade begins on Seawall Blvd and progresses down 25th Street. While this event is fun for people of all ages, choose where to view the parade carefully as some areas are more or less kid friendly. 6pm.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

  • Krewe of Momus Grand Night Parade – This is the island’s biggest parade and will feature light up floats, marching bands and beads as well as the krewe’s royalty including King Firvilous C, the Queen of Momus and two dozen duchesses in royal ball gowns. The parade ends downtown where the party continues., 6:30pm.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

  • Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Parade – This ever-popular pet parade is put on by the Galveston Island Humane Society and is a great for kids, family and furry friends to watch or walk in. Festive costumes are encouraged and day-of registration is accepted. 1pm.
  • Mardi Gras Children’s Parade – Local fire fighters put on this parade and it is extremely family friendly. Most of the people walking and riding in the parade are children and it is fun to see the contest for best float and best costumes. This parade begins shortly after the pet parade and follows a similar route so it is a great opportunity to catch both. 2pm.

Mardi Gras Day, Tuesday, February 17, 2015

  • 19th Annual Fat Tuesday Parade – Fat Tuesday is the final day of Mardi Gras and was traditionally celebrated as a last chance to indulge in the festivities before the fasting of lent. This parade is a local favorite and will feature light up floats from many different krewes and marching bands. Since it is the last parade of the year, people on floats are eager to throw all the beads. This parade usually draws a smaller crowd and is more low key but a great way to wrap up the Mardi Gras season. 6:30pm.
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Megan O'Malley covers Houston area nonprofits and select events and helps manage social media for 365 Houston. She grew up in Galveston and graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in public relations and event planning, She recently relocated to Houston and has enthusiastically embraced all the city has to offer. Megan is an animal lover, passionate about special events and loves spending time outdoors and giving back to the community.