If you are looking for parades during Marie Gras season on the Gulf Coast you are in luck! There are plenty of parades beginning from January to Mardi Gras Day. There are even more options if you are willing to travel to Mobile or Louisiana. You can count on night parades and day parades to suit your own needs. Since there are so many options, I here is a list of my top 3 and why I like them.
Why I Love Gulf Coast Parades
I grew up attending these parades. They are way less crowded than the New Orleans parades. As I mentioned in my Mardi Gras nostalgia post last year, some of these parades were opportunities for family reunions. My high school marching band would spend the weekends leading up to Mardi Gras performing in these parades. They were long but fun times bringing energy to the crowds.
Unlike our neighbors in Mobile and New Orleans, our parades are a little less crowded. They are also certainly more family friendly with stricter drinking laws. You can expect to see several parades within a weekend leading up to Mardi Gras.
Based on my memories and experiences here are some of my favorite projects.
Ocean Springs Night Parade
I began attending the Ocean Springs Night Parades after Katrina in 2006. Back then, the Gulf Coast was still recovering so the parade turned and went through the route twice! Back then people even decorated their boats, put them in trailers, and ran them through the parade as well. Because of these nostalgic memories, I still love going to the parade. The section of route on Government Street has become tremendously crowded. I recommend watching the parade on Porter Avenue instead.
The parade always runs the Friday before Fat Tuesday. More information on this parade can be found here.
Biloxi Day Parade
This is the peak of Mardi Gras. The downtown Biloxi Parade on Mardi Gras Day is the big event. It is where the Gulf Coast Carnival Associations royalty ride. It culminates with a toast by Queen Ixolib and King D’Iberville in front of City Hall on Lameuse Street. It usually rides around noon, but I do recommend going in early because I10 and Highway 90 can become very backed up.
If you want the party to continue, Gulfport’s night parade begins in the evening of Mardi Gras Day.
D’Iberville/North Bay Mardi Gras Parade
North Bay Parade always rolls the Sunday before Mardi Gras. It is a long parade as well as a long parade route. That means there are plenty of bead catching opportunities. There are also plenty of parking spots, but take care to heed signs in order to not park on private property. There are more businesses to visit while waiting for the parade on the D’Iberville side.
You can enjoy some delicious Vietnamese food before the parade too!
Other Parades Along the Coast
If you cannot make these parades, don’t worry! There are plenty in each coastal county and a few further north like I mentioned above. To see a complete list of parades and routes check out Gulf Coast Weekend to see a schedule with the route maps.
What Mardi Gras Parade is your favorite?
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