In February, Texas’ largest Mardi Gras celebration, Mardi Gras! Galveston, returns after a break in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
During the two-weekend event, the streets of Galveston’s Strand Historic District will teem with joyous revelers watching parades, collecting beads, and celebrating with friends. The entertainment lineup includes nearly two dozen parades, several live performances and a multitude of other events. This year’s festivities are expected to attract more than 350,000 attendees.
Here are the highlights:
Mardi Gras! Galveston is held annually during the two weekends preceding Lent. The first weekend of festivities will take place Feb. 18-20; the second will run Feb. 25-27. Event highlights include Mardi Gras Galveston Official 5K “The Jolly Jester Jaunt” on Feb. 19 and “Fiesta Gras!” On Feb. 20.
The Mardi Gras! Galveston program features at least 22 elaborate parades. Crowd favorites include the “Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade,” the “Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade,” the “Zaniest Golf Cart Parade” the “Krewe of Gambrinus Parade,” ”Jumpin’ Jays Bumpin’ Bus Parade,” and the “Mystic Krewe of Aquarius Annual ‘Fat Tuesday’ Mardi Gras Parade.” To view this year’s parade schedule, click here.
Headliners for Mardi Gras! Galveston’s concert lineup include rock band 3 Doors Down; country artist Matt Stell; and noted Tejano band Siggno. View the full performance schedule here.
Tickets are on sale online for general weekend admission and balcony access. General admission is $11.50. There are several weekend ticket packages and party passes available.
Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade
Beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 26, Galveston’s oldest Krewe, the Knights of Momus, will parade down 25th Street and around the entertainment district in Mardi Gras! Galveston’s largest event – The Grand Knight Parade, which features a multitude of marching bands, dozens of elaborate floats and hundreds of riders. The Knights of Momus Krewe, one of 16 Mardi Gras societies, has been a central part of the Galveston’s Mardi Gras celebration since the festival’s inception in 1871. Each year, the male-only organization selects a number of debutantes as its duchesses. The young women are honored at a coronation ball where one of the debutantes is selected as the Momus “Queen.” A Krewe member is selected as “King.” The Momus court are among those who ride atop the floats and throw coveted beads and doubloons to the revelers below.
The Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade
At 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 18, hundreds of costumed merrymakers flaunting decorated umbrellas will parade around The Strand in one of the oddest exhibitions of the Mari Gras celebration. Since its inception in 2011, the Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade has broken the World Record for featuring the most decorated umbrellas in a single parade. More than 1,980 umbrella-wielding party-goers participated in 2019. An even bigger turnout is predicted for 2022.
The Barkus & Meoux Parade
Undoubtedly Mardi Gras! Galveston’s cutest event, the Barkus and Meoux Parade held on Sunday, Feb. 27 will feature hundreds of good boys and girls dressed in their Mardi Gras finest. The parade typically consists largely of canines, but beloved pets of all shapes and sizes are invited to participate.
Held on Feb. 27, Family Gras! consists of three events: the “Shriners Hospitals for Children & Sunshine Kids Parade,” the “Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Parade,” and the “Mardi Gras! Firefighters Children’s Parade.” Admission to the Mardi Gras Entertainment District is free for all children age 12 or younger.
First Responders Day
On Feb. 25, admission is free for all first responders, veterans, and active service members. The Danny Webber Memorial Fire Truck Parade, a much-beloved event, will be held that night. Dedicate to the late Webber, who served as Galveston’s Galveston Fire Chief, the memorial parade will feature fire trucks from Houston, League City, Hitchcock, La Marque, Jamaica Beach and Galveston.
Bead recycling program
Millions of strands of plastic beads will be flung around the Mardi Gras Entertainment District throughout the course of the festivities. Beads in every color, shape and size. Rubber duckie beads. Football beads. Texas flag beads. Margarita beads. Vendors will sell a staggering array of them. Hordes of revelers will lurch for them as they’re thrown from balconies and parade floats. Men, women and children will literally become overburdened by their massive bead bounties. In short, there will be a heck of lot of beads at The Strand come February. But what happens to all the beads once the celebration is over and done with? Rather than chuck them in the trash, recycle them. Yaga’s Entertainment, the special event producer that organizes Mardi Gras! Galveston, has its own bead recycling program: “Beads for Needs.” Run in partnership with Galveston Independent School District’s art and life skills programs, the project’s goal is to collect one million strands each year for use at future Mardi Gras events.
For more information on Mardi Gras! Galveston, visit www.mardigrasgalveston.com.