Come catch Mardi Gras fun in the Heart of Louisiana–now with two weekends of festivities!
Pineville will kick off Mardi Gras festivities on Friday, January 29th with their second Pineville Light the Night Parade. This evening parade begins on College Boulevard at 6:00pm, travels down Main Street, crosses the Jackson Street Bridge into Alexandria, turns onto Third Street and ends at Johnston Street. The parade features lighted floats and area junior high and high school bands. When the parade ends, the float riders and general public will gather near the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center to follow the Cenla Brass Band back down Third Street for T.A.P.P. into Mardi Gras. The T.A.P.P. event will be the official Third Street After Parade Party and include the Third Street area merchants, restaurants and bars.
Saturday, the town of Woodworth will host their annual Mardi Gras Parade beginning at 12:00noon. The parade will begin at Maison Rue and Castor Plunge Road, travel down Dan Triplett Road to Brookwood Drive, turn onto Highway 165 South, and then return to Castor Plunge Road.
The annual LSUA Mardi Gras Parade will roll on Wednesday, February 3rd, at 12:00pm beginning on Tom Bowman Road. The parade will continue onto Grady Britt Drive, turn onto Garry Tisdale to Middleton Drive and rolls onto Acorn to Lot 5.
Alexandria kicks off their Mardi Gras weekend Friday, February 5th with the Hixson Autoplex Classic Cars & College Cheerleaders Parade. The Hixson Autoplex CCCC Parade will roll at 4:30pm. The parade route will wind through downtown Alexandria, from Murray Street to St. James Street, and will consist of classic cars paired with college cheerleaders from colleges and universities in Louisiana and Arkansas. Grand Marshal for the Hixson Autoplex Classic Cars & College Cheerleaders Parade will be Major General Richard “Beef” Haddad. Haddad is Vice Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. He is responsible for the daily operations of the command, consisting of approximately 70,000 Citizen Airmen and more than 300 aircraft among three numbered air forces, 33 flying wings, 10 flying groups and one space wing. In addition to Haddad, other parade guests include soldiers from Camp Beauregard and Fort Polk and the Victory Belles from the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
The annual Taste of Mardi Gras will commence Friday, February 5th, at the Alexandria Riverfront Center in downtown Alexandria. The Taste of Mardi Gras was created in 1997 as a fundraiser for the Cenla Chapter of the Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA). The first year it was held in conjunction with the grand opening of the Alexandria Riverfront Center and was named “Taste on the Riverfront”. There were 14 food booths and approximately 350 people attended the first “Taste.” Today, Taste of Mardi Gras has grown to 40 food booths and more than 2,500 attendees annually. Tickets are now available at the Alexandria/Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau office, 707 Second Street in Alexandria, or by calling (318) 442-9546 or (318) 729-6045.
The 20th Annual Children’s Parade will roll at 10:00am on Saturday, February 6th. The parade route will wind through downtown Alexandria, from Murray Street to St. James Street. Children are then invited to celebrate Mardi Gras at the Alexandria Zoo for the annual Mardi Gras Party at 2:00pm! Enjoy sweet treats from Atwood’s Bakery, live music, and don’t miss the up-close encounters with zoo animals. Zoo admission rates apply.
The 23rd Annual Krewes Parade will roll Sunday, February 7th, at 2:00pm, beginning on Texas Avenue and ending on North Mall Boulevard. This parade began with 10 floats and 4 Krewes and now has more than 23 floats participating. Get to the parade route early to enjoy Mardi Gras in The Zone–an alcohol and tobacco-free area safe for families to celebrate before the parade. The Zone will offer food and drink for sale, complimentary popcorn and water, jumpers, face painting, live music, a rock climbing wall, and more! The Zone will be open from 11:00am to 2:00pm, and can be accessed from the parking lot across from Bringhurst Field at the corner of Masonic and Texas Avenues.
Each year, the Alexandria Mardi Gras Association chooses persons of distinction, who have had positive impacts on the quality of life in Louisiana, to serve as parade Grand Marshals. This year’s Krewe Parade Grand Marshal is country recording artist Jason Ashley, who hails from Deville. The goal of the AMGA is to provide a cultural event, appealing to all cross-sections of the community, state, and region, to help stimulate the economy.
For additional information, visit the www.alexmardigras.com or www.AlexandriaPinevilleLA.com/MardiGras or call (800) 551-9546.