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Top Picks | Mardi Gras Celebrations

Hit the Road & Celebrate Fat Tuesday

Carnival is one of the most exciting celebrations of the year. Traditionally, Carnival is celebrated before the start of Lent and includes parades, parties, and masquerade-like costumes. Some celebrations spread throughout the month, while others last just for the day. It is celebrated in many different ways throughout the world. Brazil is home to one of the biggest Carnival celebrations in the world. The Caribbean is also home to amazingly colorful and exciting celebrations. If you want to stay in the United States, however, you will find plenty of diverse and thrilling Carnivals -- or, as it is often known here, Mardi Gras celebrations.

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is known for the biggest and best Carnival/Mardi Gras celebration in the entire United States. The Big Easy starts celebrating Carnival as early as Jan. 30 and continues the celebration right up to Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, February 16, 2010. In New Orleans you will find a different parade each night, each with amazing floats, colorful costumes, and lots of fun. Mardi Gras is a celebration that unites many of the diverse origins of the city under one event. Visitors to New Orleans can see the Mardi Gras Indians or watch the Zulu parade.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana
In Baton Rouge, the parades start on February 5th and the fun doesn't end until February 20th. The parades are all hosted by different groups around the city. Should you choose to spend Mardi Gras season in Baton Rouge, you will have many options to enjoy the masquerade and excitement of the celebrations. You can collect beads and enjoy the party atmosphere of the events. Mardi Gras in Louisiana is unlike any other event in the world.

Pensacola, Florida
In Florida you will find some amazing Mardi Gras celebrations, all with a special Florida twist. Pensacola has one of Florida's great Mardi Gras celebrations. You can enjoy the parades, some of which occur in the evening and some during the day. Pensacola celebrates Mardi Gras in high style, and visitors can join the local revelers in enjoying the food and drink at a variety of local establishments.

Austin, Texas
Each year Austin celebrates the Carnival Brasiliero.  Unlike many cities in the U.S., which celebrate our version of Carnival (Mardi Gras), Austin celebrates the Brazilian Carnival. Austin's Carnival is a night of music and fun. At this event you will find some of the fun of Brazil within the United States. If you can go, be sure to enjoy the costumes and the delightful samba music.

San Diego, California
San Diego is home to one of the most exciting Carnival celebrations on the West Coast. This year, 2010, San Diego celebrates their 16th annual Mardi Gras on the 16th of February. In San Diego you can join the revelers in the streets to enjoy the carnival and street performances. You can collect your Mardi Gras beads while enjoying the celebration in the lounges and bars of San Diego or watch the variety of artists, dancers, and other street performances..

St. Louis, Missouri
Each year, St. Louis has one of the largest Carnival or Mardi Gras celebrations outside of New Orleans. The Soulard Mardi Gras is the biggest Mardi Gras celebration in St. Louis and it has many great events that you can enjoy. In St. Louis, the Mardi Gras party starts on the twelfth night in January and lasts right up to Fat Tuesday. You can enjoy cook-offs, wine tasting, and even the ever-fun pet parade. The Mardi Gras festivities culminate with The Mayor's Ball, which is the formal masquerade ball of the festivities, and of course, The Grand Parade. The Grand Parade is held on the night of Mardi Gras and people flock to the streets to enjoy the event.

Galveston, Texas
This year will mark the 99th Mardi Gras celebration on Galveston Island. The 2010 celebration started on February 5th and the festivities will continue through February 16th. Visitors can enjoy a variety of parades, galas, and balls as well as many other forms of entertainment. Galveston has a very family friendly Mardi Gras season, which mixes family appropriate entertainment with all the excitement of the usual Mardi Gras and Carnival. There are both day and night time parades, including a Children's Parade. Galveston also has over 50 galas and events during the Mardi Gras season, including costume contests, balls, and pageants, the proceeds of which go to various groups throughout the community.

Mobile, Alabama

Mobile is the place to visit if you are looking for a unique Carnival or Mardi Gras experience. The diverse cultural influences of the city make it one of Alabama's most interesting cities. Its mix of Catholic, Creole, French, and Spanish make for an amazing Carnival Celebration. Mobile is home to the original Mardi Gras celebrations. The Carnival celebrations can start in November and continue until midnight on Mardi Gras. During this time period the streets are filled with parades, live marching bands, and immense crowds of celebrators. If you can't visit during the Carnival season, you can still visit the Mobile Carnival Museum to revel in the long and rich history of Mardi Gras and Carnival in Mobile.



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