Around this time of year, something magical happens in Mobile, Alabama — Mardi Gras! Chances are you’ve heard of this annual carnival celebration where floats roll on by filled with bead-laden passengers happily responding to the chants of “Throw me something, mister!” If you’ve never experienced this season of colorful revelry branded by purple, green, and gold, then you’re in luck because Merchants Plaza is in the center of it all. Keep reading to learn more!
When it comes to where Mardi Gras originated, that claim to fame goes to Mobile, Alabama! Dating back to 1703, French pioneers kicked off festivities at Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff, which was the first settlement of Mobile. Since then, this city has been celebrating carnival in the pulse of downtown, and also gets a nod of recognition for being the first to establish a krewe (pronounced as crew) — a social organization that hosts a parade and/or ball.
One of the best parts of celebrating Mardi Gras is attending the parades where you can indulge in hours of catching beads, trinkets, doubloons, specialty items, and more! Highly decorative floats started rolling the streets of Mobile on February 11, but there’s still time to join in the fun until the last parade rolls on March 1 at 6 p.m. in downtown! Here’s a glimpse of what’s happening on Fat Tuesday, also known as the last day of Mardi Gras:
- 10:30 a.m. — Order of Athena Parade
- 12:30 p.m. — Knights of Revelry Parade
- 1 p.m. — King Felix III Parade
- 1:30 p.m. — Comic Cowboys Parade
- 2 p.m. — MAMGA Mammoth Parade
- 6 p.m. — Order of Myths Parade
Check out the complete schedule provided by the City of Mobile to stay current on all the exciting action and routes, as well as parking information, safety tips, and more. And remember, if you call Merchants Plaza home, then you have access to the best location because many of the parades pass right by our community!
Because downtown is the central hot spot for all the parade action, it’s good to know where you can catch a bite in between festivities. Here’s some recommendations:
72 S. Royal St.
167 Dauphin St.
57 N. Claiborne St.
107 St. Francis St.
263 St. Francis St.
250 Dauphin St.
203 Dauphin St.
Interested in learning more about Mardi Gras and its connection to Mobile? Visit the Mobile Carnival Museum located at the historic Bernstein-Bush house — a fantastic place that opened in 2005 thanks to the efforts of the Mobile Carnival Association and a number of volunteers. Explore 14 gallery rooms, quarterly exhibits, a pictorial hallway, gift shop, and more. You’ll be mesmerized by an impressive and ornate collection of memorabilia, costumes, robes, crowns, and scepters, all while learning about float construction, parades, balls, and krewes.