Texas’ largest Mardi Gras celebration kicks off this Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in Galveston, with a crowd of more than 300,000 expected to attend the two-week event of lavish parade, parties, concerts and masked balls. Kicking off the celeration is Friday's annual "Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade featuring the famous choreographed umbrella dance. Anyone who brings a decorated umbrella to participate in the brigade will receive free admission to the downtown Mardi Gras entertainment district. To register, click here.
On Saturday, the platinum rock group Tonic takes top billing with the Grammy nominated group performing at 7:30 p.m. in Saengerfest Park, located at the corner of Strand and 23rd streets. Concerts are free to attend with admission to the Mardi Gras entertainment district.
On Sunday, Feb. 3 Family Gras at Mardi Gras gets rolling with the annual Sunshine Kids Parade, Shriners Hospitals for Children Parade, a Fun Run/Walk and live entertainment. Admission to the entertainment district on this day is free. Donations will be accepted at the gate for the Sunshine Kids and Shriners Hospitals for Children. (Click Here for the Mardi Gras! Galveston Parade Schedule. Click Here for Mardi Gras Hotel Packages).
Mardi Gras, the traditional festival of feasting and merrymaking that precedes the season of Lent, was first publicly observed on Galveston Island in 1867. Following a sabbatical imposed in 1941 by war and challenging times, Mardi Gras! Galveston was revived in 1985 by Galveston-born preservationist and developer George P. Mitchell. The largest celebration of its kind in Texas and the third largest in the nation, Mardi Gras! Galveston brings the island’s streets to life with parade viewers shouting for beads, lively tunes played by the colorful marching bands, and the infectious merriment that dominates the island for two full weeks. For more information on Mardi Gras! Galveston visit http://www.mardigrasgalveston.com.