Venice Beach first celebrated Mardi Gras over three days of (somewhat unseasonal) revelry in August of 1935. For the past 17 years, the locals have kept the good times rolling with an annual parade and after party. We will never forget the painted elephants that used to stroll down the Boardwalk at the Festival of the Chariots. If there are three things Venice Beach knows how to do, it’s parade, dress wild, and party! So it is the perfect place for a huge Fat Wednesday blowout.
Mardi Gras marks the last day of feasting before Lent, and thus follows the religious calendar rather than the calendar-calendar, falling 4 weeks before Easter. This year’s Fat Tuesday falls on March 5, 2019. It may seem like these revelers are jumping the gun a little bit, but in New Orleans, Mardi Gras season begins the day after Christmas (even before epiphany!) Saturday, February 23, 2019, meet up at 11 a.m. at Rose Avenue and the Boardwalk for the start of the parade at 11:30 a.m. wearing your festive and colorful finery. Standard accessories include sun parasols and handkerchiefs to wave above your head. The parade will officially start at 12 noon and travel south along Ocean Front Walk followed by an after-party at Surfside Venice with live bands and drink specials.
This year’s theme is Magical Mystery Tour, so they recommend you costume yourselves as mythical characters, animals (We recommend a walrus), rainbows, fairies and characters out of folk tales and fairy tales. I’m pretty sure that means mermaids, and you know who I’m talking to. You can’t go wrong with an outfit of green, gold and purple! There will be throw beads available for a $5 donation. You would not believe how crazed perfectly normal people become when beads appear, so stock up. And if someone isn’t selling Mardi Gras masks and feather boas, it is not the Venice that I know and love.
Stay tuned to The LA Beat for more info on where to Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Saturday, February 23, 2019:
10:00 a.m. Meet up for a pre-parade party at Venice Ale House. $8 Parking available in the North City parking lot, Rose Ave/Boardwalk.
11:30 a.m. Group photos
11:45 a.m. Parade Line up Rose Ave/Boardwalk.
12 NOON PARADE START
2:00-6:00 p.m. After Parade Party at Surfside Venice, 23 Windward Ave.
3:00-6:00 p.m. The Gumbo Brothers and Friends Mardi Gras show!
3-6 p.m. Venice Paparazzi photography team and photo booth at the after party at Surfside.
Photo and schedule courtesy of Venice Paparazzi.