Local Activities | February 12, 2015
Its Mardi Gras season around the world! There are parades, festivals, fun and lots of great food at Carnival celebrations in Venice, Italy and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and of course in New Orleans! All of the celebrations will accumulate with Fat Tuesday events on Tuesday, February 17th. Mardi Gras celebrations and traditions can be traced back to pagan spring rites and rituals. Today, Mardi Gras is celebrated with music, food, floats and excitement. The city of New Orleans is famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations, which usually start in the beginning of January and run to Ash Wednesday, which is 40 days before Easter. Modern Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans date back to the 1830’s with masked and costumed parade participants dancing through the streets. The New Orleans Mardi Gras Krewe, the first organized group of Mardi Gras celebrants, was formed in the 1850’s. Costumed parade participants have been throwing out beads and other small gifts in the Mardi Gras parades since 1871. Today, there are over 50 krewes who sponsor Mardi Gras events such as parades, masked balls and parties. There are over 70 free parades in the city that are sponsored by different krewes with the first parade starting at 8am and the last one kicking off at sundown each of the 12 days. The larger parades can have hundreds of floats, marching bands and participants that wind through the streets of the French Quarter.
The Power Plant at the Inner Harbor is hosting Baltimore’s largest Mardi Gras event (link is external) on Saturday, February 14th from 9pm to 12am. There will be a carnival atmosphere with Cirque style Aerialists, stilt walkers, fire breathers, a parade, Cajun food, Zydeco music and much more. Ten bars and restaurants in the Power Plant will be participating in the event. If you can’t make that event, many restaurants in the city will be having special Mardi Gras celebrations (link is external) and menus.
Washington D.C. hosts quite a few Mardi Gras events and celebrations. The Mardi Gras Masquerade (link is external) will take place Sunday, February 15th at the Sofitel Washington DC Lafayette Square. This black tie event will feature New Orleans style brass and jazz bands, DJ’s, costumed performers and of course, plenty of beads.
The Clarendon Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade (link is external)takes place at 8pm on Fat Tuesday, February 17th in Arlington, Virginia. The parade is the largest Fat Tuesday celebration in the Washington D.C. area. The parade, which runs along Wilson Boulevard from North Barton Street to North Danville Street, is family friendly with floats, marching bands, community groups, costumed performers and beads! Last year, the weather limited the number of participants in the parade. However, this year the parade hopes to be back up to over 50 participating groups and performances. You can continue with the Mardi Gras activities in Arlington after the parade at the Bayou Gras Block Party with many area pubs and restaurants participating with live music, great food and other activities. The Strathmore (link is external) is presenting a special concert on Fat Tuesday by the Grammy winners, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra on Wednesday, February 18th. Family can be part of Mardi Gras celebrations at the Anacostia Community Museum (link is external) on Saturday, February 21st for storytelling, face painting, mask-making, a parade and more!
Even though Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. are thousands of miles from the epicenter of Mardi Gras events in New Orleans, there are still many ways to celebrate the holiday from family friendly events to adult only celebrations. ezStorage has 45 storage locations in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. areas that can serve all of your storage needs from business to household.