February 17, 2012 | 9:00am
Bead throwing, laser light shows, live music and massive parades. The second weekend of Mardi Gras! Galveston will kick off this Friday, February 17, with more entertainment than ever before. Not only is it the largest celebration of its kind in Texas, but it is also the third-largest in the nation. The streets of the Gulf Coast will come to life with lively tunes and contagious merriment once again as the celebrations continue on into Fat Tuesday on February 21.
Friday night will feature a headline performance by Texas country group Josh Abbott Band. Originally from Lubbock, the band will take center stage with an opening act by Fred Andrews & HoneyBrowne from Austin, livening up the night with hits from their new album, This Side of Crazy. Other live entertainment includes the Quaker City String Band of Philadelphia, one of the most popular performances of Mardi Gras! Galveston, as well as a laser light show featuring Dub Step DJ Mr. Dee Jay, pumping up the night with electronic music and vibrant lights at 10:15 p.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Saturday.
Continuing with the tradition of extravagant parades, some new parades will be added to the Mardi Gras celebration this year. The Danny Weber Memorial Fire Truck Parade and the Cruise Krewe Parade will kick start Saturday, February 18, setting the atmosphere for the Knights of Momus Grand Night Parade, the largest parade of Mardi Gras! Galveston that evening. Floats, marching bands and bead throwing will start at 19th and Seawall Boulevard and end at the Strand.
If you are looking for a more family-oriented parade, the Krewe d'Esprit Rosaire Parade begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday right after Battle of the Bands. There will also be an after party with more bead throwing, music, high-energy marching bands and multicultural food stands. For pet lovers, the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Parade will bring out the best (or worst) in people and their pets with a pet parade on the Seawall on Sunday at at 1 p.m, before local firefighters hold the Mardi Gras Children's Parade with costumed kids and family fun floats at 2 p.m.
Mardi Gras! Galveston will also present a variety of galas and elegant balls. The San Luis Salute to South Beach event will feature a seated dinner on Friday, February 17, at 7:30 p.m. benefiting the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The Tremont House hosts its 28th Annual Mardi Gras Ball & Parade Viewing Party on Saturday, February 18, at 6 p.m. with a Motown theme including a decadent buffet, open bar and live music.
This year's Mardi Gras! Galveston will culminate with a finale featuring Mystic Krewe of Aquarius "Fat Tuesday" Parade on February 21 at 6:30 p.m. More elaborate floats, beads and marching bands will perform, reveling in one final show before the curtain call of Mardi Gras 2012.
For detailed schedules, prices and more information, visit the Galveston Mardi Gras Web site.