just bead it

The reveler’s guide to opening weekend of Texas’ biggest Mardi Gras celebration

Reveler’s guide to opening weekend of Texas’ biggest Mardi Gras party

Mardi Gras! Galveston
It's time to bead it, y'all. Photo courtesy of Mardi Gras! Galveston
Mardi Gras! Galveston
Balcony bashes await. Photo courtesy of Mardi Gras! Galveston
Mardi Gras! Galveston
Specialty shows include Fiesta Gras. Photo courtesy of Mardi Gras! Galveston
Mardi Gras! Galveston
Mardi Gras! Galveston
Mardi Gras! Galveston

One of the biggest draws on the Texas Gulf Coast is back for a big beaded bash. Mardi Gras! Galveston — now in its 11th year — returns to the island February 18-March 1 after being canceled in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Visitors can expect a blowout weekend of parades, balcony parties, eats, an Airstream rally, killer concerts, and of course, plenty of beads. So where to begin this weekend? Kinley White of Yaga’s Entertainment, the company producing the grand event, offers up a must-attend list.

Friday, February 18
Get to the island early for the George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Award Ceremony at 5:30 pm, followed by a corresponding parade through downtown Galveston at 7 pm.

Then, hundreds of umbrella dancers will twist through the streets of downtown at the 11th annual Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade at 8:30 pm. That’s followed by the Mardi Gras! Galveston Parade and several concerts that will keep the party going through the night.

Saturday, February 19
It’s parade time as the revelry runs along Galveston’s Seawall and through the downtown Mardi Gras Entertainment District. Look for two of Mardi Gras! Galveston’s largest events: the Mystic Krewe of Aquarius Kick-Off Parade (noon) and the Krewe of Gambrinus Parade (6 pm).

Music fans can jam out the live music headliners, ’90s rock band 3 Doors Down, who will perform at 5:30 pm on the Corona Extra Stage located at the corner of 23rd and Strand streets. (Make sure to yell out the chorus to their big single, “Kryptonite.”)

Sunday, February 20
Fiesta Gras! returns for its fifth year, celebrating Hispanic heritage and highlighting Latino-oriented entertainment and fun. Latin Grammy Award-winning Tejano group Siggno headlines at 2:30 pm, followed by musical act LaDezz.

Also on tap are two themed parades, El Norte La Raza and Los Locos Vaqueros Parade, which features defensive lineman Roy Lopez of the Houston Texans serving as the parade’s grand marshal. Fiesta Gras! will be located in the downtown entertainment district at the corner of 23rd and Strand streets.

Airstreams all over
New for 2022 is the Streamin’ on the Strand Airstream Rally from February 18-February 20. Expect 47 Airstream trailers in the entertainment district on Mechanic Street.

Balcony parties
It’s not too late to score tickets for the balcony parties. Be sure to wear comfortable, festive gear and shoes. These events are 21-and-up only and feature festivities, a cash bar, and music. Click here for tickets.

Mardi grub
Galveston offers a host of restaurants serving seafood, Cajun, Italian, and Mexican fare. Some of White’s recommendations:

  • Yaga’s Cafe (2314 Strand St.)
  • Riondo’s Ristorante (2328 Strand St.)
  • The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe (512 14th St.)
  • Gumbo Diner (3602 Seawall Blvd.)
  • Mosquito Cafe (628 14th St.)
  • Taquilo’s Tex-Mex Cantina (2101 Postoffice St.)
  • BLVD Seafood (2804 Avenue R ½ at 28th St. & Seawall Blvd.)