Get your purple, green and gold and experience the magic in Southwest Louisiana/Lake Charles for the 2016 Mardi Gras season. The King cakes, parades, royal balls and glitzy costumes all add to the mystique of the 2nd largest Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana. The Mardi Gras season will kick off with the Twelfth Night celebration on January 6 and the festivities of Carnival continue through Fat Tuesday, Feb. 9.
During the Mardi Gras season, an estimated 140,000 people come together to enjoy music, food, parades and plenty of glamorous Mardi Gras regalia. It’s a family-friendly affair, with carnival rides and an alcohol and tobacco free zone along the parade route. There’s even a complimentary Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras app you can download for the latest schedule of events, parade routes, notifications and more.
The City of Sulphur will kick off the festivities by hosting a parade, live music, and a King Cake Taste-Off on Saturday, Jan. 30. Pageantry, parades, Children’s Day, a Zydeco dance, a Gumbo Cook-off, a Mardi Gras trail ride and other events pack the weekend, Feb. 5-9. The Royal Gala occurs the Monday night before Mardi Gras, February 8. On Fat Tuesday, Feb. 9, experience a traditional rural Mardi Gras by chasing chickens at Iowa’s annual chicken run. And for the grand finale, the Krewe of Krewes Parade winds through four miles of Lake Charles tossing thousands of beads to cheering crowds.
“Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana reaches out to the young and young at heart to expose the masses to our unique Southwest Louisiana culture. With the sounds of our toe-tapping music, incredible joie de vivre (joy of life) and tasty food all on display, Mardi Gras provides a little something for everyone, no matter their age or background,” said Rebecca Moss, secretary and parade chairman of Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana, Inc.
Since 1979, Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana, Inc. has presented its flagship festival in the area with an approximate $25 million impact on the economy each year. Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana and its accompanying events has been named a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association and has been designated as a Top 20 Event for the Southeast Tourism Society for many years.
If your schedule doesn’t allow you to make the festivities, visit the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu, located at 809 Kirby St. in Lake Charles, open year-round, displaying the largest Mardi Gras costume display in the world.
For more information, log on to www.swlamardigras.com or call 800-456-7952.