Mardi Gras kick offs Feb. 1 on Galveston Island and runs through Feb. 12. The nation’s third-largest Mardi Gras celebration will feature 38 concerts, 24 parades, five masked balls and countless parties.
The pre-Lent party attracts more 300,000 to the island each year.
Admission at the gate to the downtown Mardi Gras entertainment district is $17 (free for ages 11 and younger). For discounts, purchase your tickets online at mardigrasgalveston.com. You’ll also find multiday passes and tickets for balcony-view parties.
Here are highlights — and, please, pace yourself.
Friday, Feb. 1
Four parades will roll through the downtown entertainment district beginning with the Party Gras Parade — a Dixieland jazz band — at 5 p.m. It will be followed by the George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Parade at 7 p.m., the third annual Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade at 8:30 p.m. and the Krewe da’ Yaga’s Café Parade at 10 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 2
Grammy-nominated rockers Tonic will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Saengerfest Park, located at the corner of Strand and 23rd streets. It’s free with admission to the Mardi Gras entertainment district.
Parades routes will go along the seawall and through the downtown entertainment district.
On the seawall, 20 marching bands and hundreds of costumed krewe members will take part in the Mystic Krewe of Aquarius Mardi Gras Kickoff Parade at noon. At 6 p.m., Krewe of Gambrinus “Lights Up the Night” Parade will conclude with a fireworks display.
Downtown will see the Zaniest Golf Cart Parade at 1 p.m., the iHeartRadio Rocks The Block Parade at 3 p.m., the Art Car Parade at 4 p.m. and the Build Your Own Krewe Parade at 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 3
Two family-friendly parades -- the Sunshine Kids Parade rolls at 1 p.m. and the Shriners Hospitals for Children Parade is a go at 3 p.m. – will be a celebration of children. Admission to the entertainment district is free.
Friday, Feb. 8
Country music artist Lee Brice will perform a concert at 9 p.m. in Saengerfest Park, located at the corner of Strand and 23rd streets. Free with admission to Mardi Gras entertainment district.
Spectators can enjoy three parades in the downtown entertainment district, including the Danny Weber Memorial Fire Truck Parade at 7 p.m., the Krewe Babalu All Krewe Parade at 8 p.m. and the Krewe of Maximilian Parade at 10 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 9
The island’s largest and most elaborate parade, the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade, starts on the seawall at 19th Street and ends in the downtown entertainment district.
Downtown also is the site of the Krewe d’Esprit Rosaire Parade at 11 a.m., the Z Krewe 19th Z Processional at 1 p.m., the Houston Chronicle Neauxs Krewe Parade at 3 p.m. and the Ford Parade at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 10
Kids and pets are celebrated with two parades on Seawall Boulevard. The Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Parade at 1 p.m. features costumed pets, and the candy flies at the Mardi Gras Children’s Parade at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 12
Mardi Gras concludes at 6:30 with the Krewe of Aquarius Fat Tuesday Parade, which struts through downtown.
For a full schedule of island events, go to mardigrasgalveston.com.
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