Midway to Mardi Gras

Six months to go and revelers are gearing up

While some tourists wear beads year-round, the locals typically reserve them for Carnival season. And while the temperature is still in the 90s, people around here are dreaming of February and donning their Mardi Gras best.

This past weekend Mardi Gras World held their new event, “Halfway to Carnival”. It was a day-long celebration of all things Mardi Gras. They welcomed guests with free admission for their tours, which always include king cake.

Free snowballs were also enjoyed this past weekend while visitors were on the tour, or watching Mardi Gras Indians perform. For the finale, Rebirth Brass Band rocked the warehouse. Additional food and beverages were also available for purchase.

If they repeat the event for next year, the main thing they can improve is the wait time to decorate masks. While the concept of the free experience is great, its execution led to hour-long waits, fussy kids and a few people who had to leave before they could even reach the end and receive a mask.

Mardi Gras World offers their tours year-round seven days a week from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, and tickets can be purchased in advance online. For a visitor coming to New Orleans outside of Carnival season, it offers a great inside look into the history and artistry of Mardi Gras.

This coming Saturday, August 29 is the annual “Midsummer Mardi Gras” parade organized by the Krewe of O.A.K. It rolls between 7:00pm and 7:30pm from Oak Street near the Maple Leaf Bar and heads up Carrollton Avenue to Palmer Park. There, a brass band will perform and the revelers will then make their way back down Carrollton to keep the celebration going on Oak Street.

The theme this year is “Tie Dye Me Up” and will have a summer of love flair to it. Confirmed dancing and marching groups participating include: Krewe of O.A.K, Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbaccus, Bearded Oysters, Muff-A-Lottas and the Organ Grinders. The parade will be lead by King Robustus XXIX and Queen Rachael.

Known for being a hot and sweaty affair, the attire is minimal and encouraged to be outrageous, with costumes often consisting of simply undergarments and wigs. This one isn’t a family parade, and a frozen daiquiri in hand is highly recommended for spectators.

So while actual Carnival season doesn’t start until January, locals and visitors don’t have to wait to get the party started.



Categories: Tourism Biz