Galveston revived its citywide celebration of Mardi Gras 26 years ago. This revival was led by our own George Mitchell and coincided with the grand opening of The Tremont House in 1985. But Galvestonians have celebrated this time of merriment before the Lenten season for 99 years in both private and public events over the years with some breaks during war time.
Hotel Galvez & Spa, The Tremont House and Harbor House provide easy access to Mardi Gras festivities and, in some cases, the parades pass right in front of the hotels. If you want to sport your Mardi Gras beads but don't want to fight the crowds, consider participating in ArtWalk on Jan. 23, enjoying the New Orleans Style Brunch at Hotel Galvez (Sundays) or purchasing tickets to The Tremont House Mardi Gras Ball on Feb. 13.
This year, the downtown entertainment district is free and will feature live bands at Saengerfest Park, 23rd & Strand, on Saturday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 13 from noon to midnight. Bands are also scheduled on Friday, Feb. 12 from 5 to midnight. Keep in mind that the entertainment district can get a little crowded and people will "beg" for beads from the party goers on the balconies above. As the party continues into the evening this isn't the most family friendly area due to the crowds and alcohol.
During the first Saturday of Mardi Gras on Feb. 6, three parades travel on the city's Seawall - Krewe of Aquarius at noon (14th - 59th Streets); Firefighters Fire Truck Parade at 3 p.m. (14th - 61st Streets); and Krewe of Gambrinus Parade at 6 p.m. (23rd - 63rd Streets). Two of these parades pass directly in front of Hotel Galvez and one starts just two blocks away. The Seawall really allows people to spread out so it's very family friendly. You'll also see vendors selling beads, hats and other items.
During the second weekend of Mardi Gras you'll find that most of the activity is downtown. On Friday, The Tremont House will have the Philadelphia Mummers perform at 5 p.m. in front of the hotel and host a live jazz concert by New Orleans Dr. Michael White and his quartet from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Toujouse Bar. On Saturday, there's a Z Krewe Procession at 3 p.m. through downtown and the Knights of Momus Parade begins on the Seawall, then travels down 25th Street, passes in front of The Tremont House for ball goers and continues downtown. Below, you'll find some more detailed information. Happy Mardi Gras!
As part of the 2010 Mardi Gras! Galveston celebration, The Tremont House is hosting an exhibit entitled, “26 Years of Celebrations Through Invitations and Doubloons” on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. as part of the city’s ArtWalk. The event is free and open to the public.
New Orleans Style Brunch at Hotel Galvez
Sunday Brunch at the Hotel Galvez will take on a New Orleans flair during the Galveston Mardi Gras season beginning on Sunday, Jan. 24 and continuing on every Sunday through Sunday, Feb. 14, complete with Mardi Gras beads for all guests. This themed brunch is featuring various New Orleans cuisine favorites as well as the popular brunch items and complimentary champagne and mimosas. The cost is $32 for adults; $28 for senior citizens; and $19 for children ages 6 to 12. For reservations, call (409) 765-7721 or visit www.bernardosathotelgalvez.com
Three Parades Traveling Past Hotel Galvez on Feb. 6
The first parade of the season in Galveston is at noon on Saturday, Feb. 6 with the Mystic Krewe of Aquarius 25th Annual Parade. The parade starts at 14th and Seawall Blvd. and passes directly in front of Hotel Galvez. The Galveston County Firefighters Association Fire Truck Parade begins at 3 p.m. on 14th and Seawall Blvd. This parade also passes directly in front of the hotel. The last Seawall parade of the evening, The Krewe of Gambrinus “Cheers to Our Buds: The Del Papa Family” Parade, begins at 6 p.m. on 23rd and Seawall and just two blocks west of the hotel.
Free Live Entertainment on Feb. 12
Guests at The Tremont House can enjoy a special preview performance by the Quaker City String Band at 5 p.m. in front of the hotel. The Quaker City String Band is known for their colorful costumes and lively music and has performed in the Philadelphia Mummer’s Parade since 1931 and has been a Mardi Gras! Galveston tradition since 1985. New Orleans native and jazz clarinetist Dr. Michael White and his Jazz Quartet performs in the hotel’s Toujouse Bar from 7 to 10 p.m. As part of the evening, Tremont Café is featuring some Mardi Gras inspired menu items. Shortly after 8 p.m., the Krewe Babulu 5th Annual All Krewe Parade is passing in front of the hotel.
The Tremont House 26th Annual Mardi Gras Ball on Feb. 13
Galveston’s Mardi Gras celebration peaks during The Tremont House 26th
Annual Mardi Gras Ball and Parade Viewing Party celebrating “A Chinese New Year” on Saturday, Feb. 13. The ball begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are $350 per couple which includes an open bar, an extensive buffet featuring Asian cuisine, live music by The Brew from Austin in the lobby and the Dr. Michael White Jazz Quartet in the dining area. Ball guests will also enjoy prime viewing of the Momus Grand Night Parade as floats and marching bands stop directly in front of the hotel to perform. After the parade, ball goers will venture to the after party in the hotel’s ballroom for performances by Chinese cultural dancers Lee’s Golden Dragon Dance Troupe from Houston followed by dancing to the sounds of Eclipse Band and Orchestra. Breakfast will be served at the conclusion of the evening. A portion of the proceeds from the ball will benefit Rosenberg Library. The Tremont House is offering a two-night package that includes accommodations, two tickets to the ball on Saturday, Feb l3, 2010 and parade viewing of the Momus Grand Night Parade For Mardi Gras ball reservations, call (409) 763-0300, email email@example.com
or purchase tickets online at www.Galveston.com/MardiGrasBall