Mardi Gras in Pensacola, FL
Mardi Gras in Pensacola, Florida dates back to 1874, making it one of the oldest Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. Carnival season in Pensacola begins the Friday after New Year’s Day with the official Mardi Gras Kick-Off Celebration. The Kick-Off is an elaborate street party in downtown Pensacola with a reverse parade. Floats from more than 40 krewes park on the street and mark their spot for members to gather while revelers parade up and down in hopes of catching beads and other fun throws. As part of the party festivities, a Catholic priest blesses the floats and proclaims they are ready for Mardi Gras. At the end of this spirit filled evening, krewes cut Pensacola’s first official king cake of the Mardi Gras season.
After the Kick-Off celebration, all of Pensacola spends the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras Day), enjoying the overflowing of beads, eating MoonPies, attending charity events, balls, parties and parades. What adds to the excitement of Pensacola’s Mardi Gras is that all the parades occur in one big weekend. These parades are always the weekend before Fat Tuesday. On the Friday night before Fat Tuesday, the Krewe of Lafitte showcases a spectacular illuminated parade. This krewe, founded in 1954, is the largest all male Mardi Gras krewe in the Florida Panhandle. Their floats depict the seven seas with the members dressed as pirates. The Krewe of Lafitte parade is the only nighttime parade in Pensacola.
Saturday is the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade which is the largest Pensacola Mardi Gras Event. The parade includes more than 240 floats, numerous marching bands and dance teams. With 6,000 participants, this parade takes four hours to complete its route. That’s a BIG parade! The next merriment continues on Sunday with the Krewe of Wrecks Parade on Pensacola Beach with thousands of revelers. A variety of krewes and organizations join the KOW for a fun-filled afternoon. Floats compete to win best costumes, theme, throws and more.
You guessed it, there’s more fun to enjoy! On Fat Tuesday, the Fat Tuesday Priscus Celebration begins. The King and Queen of Priscus rule over all the Mardi Gras season festivities in Pensacola. The Fat Tuesday Priscus Celebration is a day of frivolous fun for all and as the season comes to an end, a new king and queen are crowned for the following year. There’s so much to enjoy during Mardi Gras season in Pensacola, FL!