Let the good times roll y’all! Your guide to Alabama Gulf Coast Mardi Gras parades

By Melanie LeCroy
Lifestyle Editor
melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 1/13/23

Mardi Gras is just around the corner, and the first parades of the Alabama Gulf Coast Mardi Gras season roll Jan. 21 in Mobile.That means it is time to laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good …

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Let the good times roll y’all! Your guide to Alabama Gulf Coast Mardi Gras parades

Posted

Mardi Gras is just around the corner, and the first parades of the Alabama Gulf Coast Mardi Gras season roll Jan. 21 in Mobile.

That means it is time to laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll).

If you are surprised that the Alabama Gulf Coast celebrates Mardi Gras, bless your heart ... you must be new here. But have no fear because Gulf Coast Media is here to help you prepare, whether you're brand new to town or wanting to get involved after years of sitting on the sidelines.

One key point to know: Mardi Gras is family friendly here.

For those who like a schedule, we have put together a list of all the Baldwin County parades. Also, each week in the What's Happening section of The Baldwin Times on Fridays, we will include a list of parades happening that weekend across the Gulf Coast.

MARDI GRAS 101

What is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, falls this year on Feb. 21.

Mardi Gras is a carnival period climaxing on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday). It is often observed with parades and festivities.

If you are new to the area or to Mardi Gras festivities, make sure to visit the Mobile Carnival Museum to learn all about the history of Mardi Gras in our area. The museum has an impressive collection of gowns, crowns, robes and scepters from Mardi Gras monarchs as well as historical photographs dating back to 1886. The museum is a great way to get an inside look at everything that surrounds Mardi Gras.

Where did Mardi Gras begin?

The home of American Mardi Gras is a hotly contested topic between Mobile and New Orleans, Louisiana. According to the Mobile Carnival Museum, French pioneers observed Mardi Gras for the first time in the New World in 1703 at Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff, the first settlement in Mobile when it was the capital of the Colony of Louisiana.

What is a krewe?

A krewe is a private organization that stages festivities such as parades and balls during Mardi Gras. They are also known as a mystic society.

What is king cake?

King cake is a staple for all who celebrate Mardi Gras.

On the Alabama Gulf Coast, king cakes are typically a ring-shaped sweet-bread filled with different fillings and topped with icing and sugar in purple, green and gold. A small plastic baby is included to be tucked inside. Whoever gets the baby brings the next king cake.

Savory king cakes are also a trend but not as widely sold. Check back next week for a list of where you can find king cake in Baldwin County.

What is Joe Cain Day?

Joe Cain Day is celebrated as part of the scheduled Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile with its center being the Joe Cain Procession (never called a parade).

Joe Cain is regarded as the founder of Mobile's modern-day Mardi Gras celebrations. In 1866, Cain paraded through downtown Mobile dressed as an imagined Indian chief, an act that helped rejuvenate the city's carnival tradition after the Civil War. The Joe Cain Procession was first held in the early 1960s, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama.

What is a throw?

A throw is any item thrown from a Mardi Gras float.

They often include plastic bead necklaces, toys, doubloons (coins), Moon Pies, ramen noodles and other food products. Krewe members spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars on throws each year.

What should I expect at a Mardi Gras parade?

If you are heading to your first Mardi Gras parade, you should plan to arrive early if you want a front-row spot, bring a chair, and don't forget to bring a bag...or three. The Mardi Gras parades in Baldwin County are impressive considering how small our cities are. The floats are massive moving art pieces that will certainly impress.

Like any event, you will need to find secure parking, so it is best to arrive early. Before you leave home, check the website or Facebook for the city you are parading in to get an idea of road closures and recommended parking areas.

The final parade tip is to leave your furry friends at home but bring the family. Mardi Gras on the Alabama Gulf Coast is family friendly, but all the jumping around and objects being thrown doesn't create a good atmopshere to bring your pet. There is, however, a parade in Fairhope dedicated to four-legged friends.

2023 MARDI GRAS PARADES IN BALDWIN COUNTY:

Friday, Feb. 10

Daphne — 6:45 p.m., Apollo's Mystic Ladies

Saturday, Feb. 11
Fairhope - 3 p.m., Mystic Mutts of Revelry

Fairhope — 6:30 p.m., Knights of Ecor Rouge

Friday, Feb. 17

Fairhope — 6:45 p.m., Maids of Jubilee

Saturday, Feb. 18
Foley — 11 a.m., Foley Parade
Mullet Point — 2 p.m., Krewe of Mullet Mates
Orange Beach — 6 p.m., Mystics of Pleasure

Daphne — 6:45 p.m., The Shadow Barons

Sunday, Feb. 19 (Joe Cain Day)
Fort Morgan — 1 p.m., Fort Morgan Parading Society
Daphne — 2:29 p.m., Loyal Order of the Fire Truck

Monday, Feb. 20 (Lundi Gras)
Fairhope — 6:45 p.m., Order of the Mystic Magnolias

Tuesday, Feb. 21 (Fat Tuesday)
Gulf Shores — 10 a.m., Gulf Shores Parade
Orange Beach — 2 p.m., Orange Beach Parade

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