Arts & Culture

Galveston Commences 105th Mardi Gras Celebration

Friday night kicks off two weekends of parties and parades on the island.

Picture of Mardi Gras mask
Mardi Gras Galveston runs January 29-February 9.

Friday night kicks off two weekends of parties and parades on the island.

The street barricades are up, the parade lights are coming on, and the beads are about to be tossed for the 105th celebration of Mardi Gras Galveston. With 22 parades scheduled over two weekends, that's a lot of floats.

"Oh my goodness, I've lost count," says Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau's Ivette Wilhelm, who adds that this year's festivities also include a 5-K run, countless balcony parties and masquerade balls, and 30 concerts for music-lovers of all types.

"It's not just rock, it's not just country. There's some zydeco. There's even a DJ stage geared especially for electronic music," she says.

Galveston's Mardi Gras is the third largest in the country, following Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans. It draws an average of about 300,000 visitors, meaning the city is going full-force with police presence. Not only will they have their full crew out, but they usually call in police from departments of surrounding areas.

There's even a chance to get in free for those who are feeling outgoing — all it takes is decorating an umbrella and dancing the Hokey Pokey in the street on opening night in the Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade.

Galveston Island's Mardi Gras last all weekend and next, with festivities extending through Fat Tuesday on February 9th.

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