100th Celebration of Mardi Gras! Galveston

February 20, 2011 7:05:03 AM PST
Mardi Gras celebrations in Galveston are from February 25-March 8, and we have information about the festivities.

What's the background on Mardi Gras! Galveston reaching its 100th celebration?
Mardi Gras, the traditional festival of feasting and merrymaking that precedes the season of Lent, has been publicly observed on Galveston Island as early as 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.

Why is Mardi Gras! Galveston special?
Mardi Gras! Galveston is the largest celebration of its kind in Texas. It is known for its lavish parades, galas worthy of royalty, children's activities and delicious Gulf Coast cuisine. This year's event will include 18 parades, 26 concerts, 13 balcony parties and 5 elegant masked balls. The event would not be possible without the support of dedicated krewes that make the magic happen! The event is also made special by the many black-tie events held throughout the island.

Is there anything new to the event this year?
The 100th celebration will include eight new parades in the Uptown Entertainment District, making the event bigger than ever before. There will also be a headline performance from the chart-topping alternative rock band Neon Trees on Feb. 26. Unlike in years past, the first weekend of Mardi Gras! Galveston 2011 will be the new "big weekend" for parades and entertainment.

What is it like experiencing the festivities at Mardi Gras! Galveston?
The parades at Mardi Gras! Galveston are very unique with costumed characters, music and bead throwing. The night parades are special because many of the floats light up and are visually entertaining. More than 200,000 people attend the festivities, so the crowd is full of excitement and fun.

Are there any activities for families?
This year's event will include a "Family Day" on Sunday, Feb. 27. This day of festivities will include a family-friendly parade led by The Sunshine Kids, a non-profit that works to provide positive group activities for young cancer patients. Tickets to Family Day are $5; children 12 years and younger are free. Proceeds will benefit The Sunshine Kids. There is also a carnival on the Seawall.

Is there a cost for Mardi Gras! Galveston?
Tickets to the gated entertainment district are $15 online or at the gate. Tickets are required on Fridays and Saturdays. Other activities, such as Seawall parades, are free.

How can people get more information?
Details on the event as well as hotel reservation information can be found at www.mardigrasgalveston.com.