Laissez les bons temps rouler. There's no better place – or time – to let the good times roll than during the almost two week period of revelry known as the 105th Celebration of Mardi Gras! Galveston. Whether you want to sow those proverbial wild oats before the ritual fasting of Lent, or you just like to have fun, there's plenty of music (Collective Soul, Cory Morrow, Candyland & Fightclvb, balcony parties, and all kinds of parades (golf carts, pets, umbrellas) to get the festivities rolling.
The big kahuna, however, has to be the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade on February 6, with elaborate floats, marching bands, bead throwing (natch) and much more. We spoke to Scott Kusnerik, this year's president of the Knights of Momus – the largest and oldest krewe – to find out more about the parade that begins on Seawall Boulevard and ends up at The Strand.
“It's crazy. It's wild. It's just a big mass of people on each side of the street. Sometimes I've seen as many as 20 people deep. [It] depends on the weather,” says Kusnerik. “On The Strand there's a lot of bands playing.”
In addition to the parade floats, “we have between 13 and 18 high school bands that march in between the floats and there are one or two floats [that] have music on them. Trust me, when you're walking that parade, all you can hear is yelling; asking for beads. You can't imagine what people will do for a 50 cent bead,” says Kusnerik, about those occasions when women lift their shirts in the old “boobs for beads” exchange. Additional security is in place to help prevent recurrences of unfortunate incidents, like the one we reported on five years ago, about the man who allegedly strangled his wife to death on Valentine's Day after she flashed a float for beads at Galveston's Mardi Gras.
The floats stay fresh and updated, with a company out of New Orleans overhauling two or three of them each year, as well as former president John Paul Listowski (now vice president and parade marshall) reworking “a float or two every year.
“The theme of Momus this year is 'Super Heroes Unleashed,' so there will be some superhero floats,” says Kusnerik. “Momus owns about 18 floats. A lot of them will be repainted; each float has a standing icon on the front. Some stay the same year to year, others are replaced to coincide with the theme.”
Just in case you were wondering about the logistics behind drinking, being on a float, and the call of nature, some of those upgrades include the restroom facilities. “It's like a little tiny porta-potty,” says Kusnerik. “I don't envy you if you're a woman with a dress on.”
January 29 through February 9, 2016, Galveston Island. For more information, visit mardigrasgalveston.com.
Now about those parades:
Friday, January 29, 2016
1. George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Award Ceremony, 5:30 p.m.
2. George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Parade, 7 p.m.
3. Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade, 8 p.m.
4. Krewe da’ Yaga’s Café Parade, 10 p.m.
Saturday, January 30, 2016
5. Official Mardi Gras! Galveston 5K Run, 11:00 a.m.
6. Mystic Krewe of Aquarius Mardi Gras Kickoff Parade, 12 p.m.
7. Zaniest Golf Cart Parade, 1 p.m.
8. Krewe d’iHeartRadio Parade, 3 p.m.
9. Krewe of Gambrinus Parade, 6 p.m.
Sunday, January 31, 2016 (Family Gras!)
10. Sunshine Kids Parade, 1 p.m.
11. Shriners Hospitals for Children-Galveston Parade, 3 p.m.
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Friday, February 5, 2016
12. Danny Weber Memorial Fire Truck Parade, 7 p.m.
13. Krewe Babalu 11th Annual “All Krewe Parade,” 8 p.m.
14. Krewe of Maximilian Parade, 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 6, 2016
15. Krewe d’Esprit Rosaire Parade, 11 a.m.
16. Z Krewe 22nd Z Processional, 1:00 p.m.
17. Houston Chronicle Neauxs Krewe Parade, 2:30 p.m.
18. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Parade, 4:30 p.m.
19. Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
20. Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Parade, 1 p.m.
21. Mardi Gras Children’s Parade, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
22. Krewe of Aquarius Fat Tuesday Parade, 6:30 p.m.