Pensacola Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras Around the World Series
Mardi Gras festivities are open to families, offering the perfect alternative. Celebrating Mardi Gras since 1874, Pensacolians host four parades every year featuring masked characters, fun throws and elaborate floats that sail along the area’s beaches. And, with temperatures typically in the mid 60s, there is plenty of Florida sunshine to go around.
This Mardi Gras season, visitors and locals are invited to attend the newest parade in the Pensacola Bay Area – the Mardi Gras March Off. On Jan. 21, more than 30,000 people are expected to hit the streets of downtown Pensacola for not only an extremely competitive marching band contest, but also to break the Guinness World Record for largest line dance.
This new family-friendly parade, created by Pensacola Mardi Gras Inc., will bring nine high school marching bands to Pensacola to show off their musical talents in the heart of downtown. After the bands march down Palafox Street, they will stop in a designated performance area to perform for professional adjudicators who will score them on their sound, look and crowd appeal for a chance to win more than $10,000 in prizes. Among the marching bands will be 25 of Pensacola’s best-decorated Mardi Gras floats and krewes tossing great throws and having a great time.
Around 3 p.m., the parade will come to a temporary halt as the crowd attempts to break the current world record for largest line dance. The record is currently held by Atlanta, where 17,500 people have participated in one massive line dance.
If you happen to miss the march off, be sure to attend the Mardi Gras Mall Ball at Cordova Mall on Jan. 28. On this night, the mall will be completely transformed into a massive ballroom, as attendees enjoy live music, delicious snacks from local restaurants and a silent auction in each wing. This annual bash is hosted by the Krewe of Les Petits Enfants (the order of the small children) and has generated more than $2 million in proceeds to the kids at Sacred Heart Hospital. This event is for the 21 and older crowd – sorry kids!
So, grab the family and head downtown to be a part of the first-ever Mardi Gras March Off and a record-breaking line dance, or put on your gowns and tuxes, and enjoy a night of festivities, music and treats at the annual Mall Ball.
- Wind Creek 12th Night Mardi Gras Kick Off Celebration. Jan. 6. At 7 p.m., join Pensacola Mardi Gras crews and their kings and queens for a big celebration and locally made king cakes. Free admission. www.pensacolamardigras.com
- Mardi Gras Marching Madness Parade. Jan. 21. Beginning at 2 p.m., enjoy the sounds of marching bands as they parade downtown, stopping at the corner of Garden Street and Palafox Place to perform for judges. Bands will be competing to win more than $10,000 in prizes. Free admission. www.pensacolamardigras.com
- Cordova Mall Ball. Jan. 28. This annual bash hosted by the Krewe of Les Petits Enfants (the order of the small children) benefits the kids at Sacred Heart Hospital. Cordova Mall is transformed into a ballroom at this event open to the public. Tickets are $50. (850) 416-4660, www.sacred-heart.org/mallball
- Mardi Gras Boat Parade Flotilla. Feb. 4. Join the Pirates of Lost Treasure at 10:30 a.m. on Perdido Key as the Mardi Gras Flotilla makes its way from Hub Stacey to the Perdido Key Oyster Bar and back to the Flora-Bama for live music, a best-decorated boat contest and happening after-party. Free admission. (850) 492-4660, www.visitperdido.com
- Mardi Gras Kid and Kritter Krawl. Feb. 11. Bring your children and favorite four-legged friends out to Pensacola Beach for a lively walking parade. Free Admission. (850) 932-1500, www.pensacolabeachchamber.com
- Snowbird’s Mardi Gras Lunch. Feb. 15. Snowbirds are invited to enjoy a breakfast of coffee and beinets or a lunch of red beans and rice at Seville Quarter in downtown Pensacola. Registration is required. Free admission. (850) 434-1234, www.visitpensacola.com/snowbirds
- Mardi Gras Downtown Illuminated Parade. Feb. 17. Starting at 8 p.m., admire the gorgeous lighted floats as they make their way down Palafox Place and through historic downtown Pensacola. Free admission. www.pensacolamardigras.com
- Pensacola Downtown Grand Parade. Feb. 18. With most of the area’s krewes participating, you won’t want to miss the largest, and most popular, parade in downtown Pensacola beginning at 2 p.m. For even more fun, follow the masked characters down to Seville Quarter for a festive after-party. Free admission. www.pensacolamardigras.com
- Pensacola Beach Mardi Gras Parade. Feb. 19. Starting at 2 p.m., line the streets, dip your toes in the sand and listen to the waves crash on the beach behind you as this parade cruises along Via De Luna Drive on Pensacola Beach. Free admission. (850) 438-1500, www.pensacolabeachchamber.com
- Fat Tuesday Priscus Procession. Feb. 21. Revelers of all ages enjoy the last parade of the Mardi Gras season before lent begins. Located on Palafox and Government Streets. Free admission. www.pensacolamardigras.com