Mobile is also known as "America's Family Mardi Gras" and is appropriate for all ages. If you’re looking to have a fun time out of harm’s way, Mobile has one of the safest celebrations in the world— as well as designated alcohol free zones along the downtown parade routes. This year, Fat Tuesday falls on March 4. The exact dates vary each year, but it can always be determined by calculating backwards from the date on which Easter falls. Mardi Gras Day is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which begins the 40-day Lenten season.
Although it’s family-friendly, celebrating Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama is not just for the kids. The frivolity and excitement of parades and parties have a way of turning staid adults into giddy revelers, even if you choose not to glam up in sequins, masks, or funny hats to participate. Mardi Gras lasts for weeks, during which time the streets of Mobile and surrounding suburbs come alive. Frequent parades are the highlight (lighted parades at night are really spectacular). The Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Mardi Gras is the real party, with two or three parades held each day. Brilliant-colored floats motor slowly down the streets, allowing time for costumed riders to toss “throws” to the enthusiastic crowds. Favored “throws” are beaded necklaces in the traditional colors of green, gold, and purple, moon pies, candy, plastic cups, moon pies, stuffed animals, wooden coins, and more moon pies! The best way to get the most throws is to get yourself noticed— wave your hands in the air, jump up and down, yell, and catch the eye of a thrower on the float. Really get into the spirit by wearing a Mardi Gras costume. Get to the parade route early to stake your spot on the sidewalk or roadside, and bring a bag to haul home your loot. You’ll be leaving with literally pounds of beads and other souvenirs.
Mardi Gras is a southern traditional that must be experienced to be understood. If you’ve not yet participated, take the family to where it all began— Mobile, Alabama. The original home of the crazy celebration is the best place to discover just how many colorful beads one person can wear— your neck definitely gets put to the test! Grab all you can, because at the stroke of midnight on Fat Tuesday, the wackiness vanishes to make way for Lent. But until then… laissez les bon temps roullex… let the good times roll! Click here for more history on Mobile's Mardi Gras and its founder Joe Cain.