Mardi Gras: taking over Galveston

Each year Galveston entices thousands of people to travel down I-45 to take part in the yearly celebration known as Mardi Gras. This year promises to do just the same.

We, here at The Houstonian, would like to give you an insider’s look at what exactly is going on at this year’s Mardi Gras and show you how Mardi Gras Galveston came to be.

Arriving in Galveston as far back as 1867, Mardi Gras was traditionally known as the “feasting and merrymaking” that precedes the season of Lent, a spiritual holiday used to obtain spiritual purity that runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Partiers would use this festival to fulfill all of their eating, drinking and sinful desires in order to get them out of the way so they would not be tempted during the abstinence of the Lenten season.

After a 57-year absence on the island, the yearly sensation made a triumphant return to Galveston in 1985 after a local island native and his wife decided to bring back the cherished tradition. Since its return, the American version of the European festival Carnival has been entertaining thousands.

Over 100 years after its establishment, this festival seems to fall back to its original intent by providing a place to deliver an outlet to get a lot of partying out of the way. It is now celebrated by thousands who do not acknowledge the season of Lent, but that’s a whole different discussion…

Whatever your reason for going to the Galveston party, you are almost guaranteed to have a good time. Employees around the island have been working around the clock to make sure this year lives up to the expectations of the past.

According to Chris Woolwine, special events manager for the Park Board of Trustees, 2003 Mardi Gras Galveston will be the best ever.

“We’ve lined up some fantastic entertainment, worked endlessly with the 17 participating Krewes (Committees or social clubs that coordinate parade floats, balls and fundraising activities for the Mardi Gras season),” Woolwine said on the homepage. “We’ve also reached out to the entire community to make Mardi Gras 2003 the most successful of its kind so far.”

More than 50 bands will entertain spectators on three grand stages located in the heart of the Strand Downtown Historical District. Performances at Galveston will include many famous artists, such as: Three Dog Knight, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and Seth James.

There will also be several parades taking place this weekend. Each parade will give the opportunist a chance to collect Mardi Gras memorabilia and help make their Mardi Gras experience more enjoyable.

On Saturday, the Krewe de Esprit Rosaire Procession parade will kick off at 11 a.m. This parade will travel down Seawall Boulevard from Menard Park to 31st Street. At 6:30 p.m. the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade will travel down 21st and Seawall to 25th Street.

On Sunday, the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Paw Parade will start at 1 p.m. and venture down Avenue M and 25th Street to the Railroad Museum. At 2 p.m. the Krewe of Munchkin’s Parade will start on Avenue N and travel back down 25th Street to Railroad Museum ending the weekend’s parades.

The party isn’t over when the parades stop. The rest of the evening is left to the creative minds of the Mardi Gras participants who journeyed down to Galveston Island. Everyone knows the most memorable festival does not begin until the sun goes down.

We, here at The Houstonian, encourage everyone going to the annual festival to have a great time, but also to be safe. There are an unlimited number of bad things that could go wrong whenever you place several thousands of people in the same general vicinity with one another, so please do not go alone.

People wanting to take part in this celebration better act soon because Mardi Gras Galveston ends on Fat Tuesday, March 4th.

For more information regarding performance and parade times, please visit

Take advantage of this yearly event because you will not be able to experience Mardi Gras again until next year. Relax, have fun, and take some friends because they too will have a good time.

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