Thursday, February 9, 2012

Laissez les bon temps rouler, y'all!

It's that time of year again. Mardi Gras. One last hurrah before having to behave for an entire 40 days during Lent. Or just another excuse to party.

Most people think of Mardi Gras as a New Orleans thing. The reputation is well-earned. However many other towns across the Gulf Coast also celebrate Mardi Gras and the season leading up to it. Including Galveston, Texas.

The celebrations in Galveston aren't nearly the scale of New Orleans, but Galveston's proximity to us, only 2.5 hours drive away, makes it a more inviting annual tradition. We can drive down, have a good time, then drive home and sleep in our own beds.

One other thing that differentiates Galveston Mardi Gras from the one in New Orleans is that the events are mostly confined to the last two weekends before Ash Wednesday. That means the first weekend of major festivities is coming up this weekend. There will be parades the seawall and The Strand on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of both weekends.

For the most part the celebrations while the sun is up are G to PG rated. The events on Sundays are kid-oriented, including a cat and dog parade and a children's parade. So if you think your kids might like some beads but you don't want to hide them from drunken revelry, get there early or go on Sundays.

The Strand entertainment district will be fenced off so you have to purchase tickets to get into the balcony areas, as it were. Tickets are available at the gates or online. But you don't have to purchase tickets to have fun or enjoy the parades or the carnival on the seawall. They travel along the seawall and through the downtown area on the way to The Strand.

General admission is $15, with an additional fee to attend the various balcony parties (something I've never done ). Parking is $8 or $10, depending on where you go. There will be food and drink vendors available inside the fenced area. Additionally all the restaurants and bars in district will be open.

For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets, go here.

(This must have been an amazingly timed photo. Usually that balcony in the background is packed with people throwing beads.)

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