Mardi Gras season will officially get underway in Pensacola on Friday, January 6 as area krewes gather downtown for the Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick Off Celebration.
The Twelfth Night party will kick off at 5:30 p.m. as krewes will park their floats on Palafox Street, where they’ll be “blessed” by a Catholic priest and deemed ready to participate in Mardi Gras by “Town Crier” T. Bubba Bechtol. The blessing will be followed by what organizers call “the biggest and best authentic second line procession anywhere” as well as the cutting of Pensacola’s first king cake of the season.
“What makes Pensacola’s Mardi Gras so special is that we concentrate all our parades into one big weekend, and the Krewes pride themselves on their throws,” said Danny Zimmern, President of Pensacola Mardi Gras. “Pensacola’s parades are known for the throws because the Krewes throw more of them, and the throws in Pensacola are better than any other city. Many of Pensacola’s Krewes have themes that celebrate Pensacola’s heritage. The Krewes put a lot of time and effort into their floats, costumes and custom throws.”
Pensacola’s Mardi Gras parades will be held the weekend of Friday, February 24 through Sunday, February 26. The Krewe of Lafitte’s illuminated parade will kick the weekend off on Friday evening, as floats roll down historic Palafox Street beginning at 8:00 p.m. The weekend’s main event, the Grand Mardi Gras Parade, is set for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 25. With more than 240 floats and themed krewes ranging from ‘60s go-go dancers to Greek goddesses, parrotheads, and pirates, the Grand Mardi Gras Parade attracts as many as 75,000 people each year to downtown Pensacola.
The parade weekend will wrap on Sunday with the Krewe of Wrecks Parade on Pensacola Beach, which rolls at 2:00 p.m.
“Mardi Gras in Pensacola continues to grow,” said Zimmern. “More people are realizing it’s safe, free and fun for the entire family. There are great parades, easy parking, and excited but well-behaved crowds. It’s hard to top parades on one of America’s Greatest Streets with a backdrop of the world’s best beaches.”