When it comes to tradition in the south, we have a lot of it. From southern hospitality to good ole southern cooking, you can find all of that wrapped up into festivals and events in the area. One of the biggest celebrations and one not to miss is Mardi Gras in Pensacola.

Mardi Gras isn’t the same time every year and it’s not only celebrated on Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras is held between February 3 and March 9 and is always 46 days before Easter – the total of 40 days of Lent including the six Sundays in that period. Mardi Gras is celebrated the weekend before Fat Tuesday and celebrations go well within the week.  

If there is one thing we know how to do well in Pensacola, it is that we know how to throw a party and have good time. While Mardi Gras festivities vary from city to city, Mardi Gras in Pensacola is extraordinary.

Enjoying Mardi Gras in Pensacola consists of seeing parades, krewes, beads, feathers, costumes, music, king cakes, masquerades, balls, coronations and plenty of merrymaking all together. We’ve got kings and queens and plenty of Krewe royalty roaming the streets and participating in parades.

Mardi Gras Krewes

Mardi Gras krewes are the groups that participate and host many activities within the city. Krewes are comprised of members and often have a particular theme around their entire group. Some krewes change themes yearly. Krewes typically host events or balls on and around Mardi Gras with different themes and purposes.

When Mardi Gras krewes get together plenty of frivolity happens. There are parades for krewes to participate in and for visitors and locals to attend. Krewes spend months getting their floats ready to showcase along with making or completing the perfect Mardi Gras outfit. Krewes usually have their own theme and a float and costumes to match. Pensacola locals and visitors can enjoy nighttime parades, daytime parades and even parades on Pensacola Beach.

Those participating in these parades have “throws” for attendees. Throws can consist of stuffed animals, Frisbees, bracelets, bouncy balls and toys, and that is what everyone is screaming to get.

Krewe of Hip Huggers

I am a member of the Krewe of Hip Huggers. We are an all-female Mardi Gras krewe founded in 1998, and we are made up of a diverse group of fun-loving women who are highly visible on the Pensacola Mardi Gras and community event scene. Our theme is based around the 1960s, so I am always thinking about finding the perfect Mod outfit. Our fabulous ladies always stand out on the parade route with a two-story Volkswagen-esque bus float and members wearing go-go boots and hippie fashion – a groovy display of peace signs, big sunglasses, colorful eyelashes, and mod outfits. We are never without go-go boots.

Hip Huggers

For the past six years I have been a member of Hip Huggers and have enjoyed every minute. We have more than 250 members, all women from different backgrounds. Our members are a diverse group of mothers, daughters, sisters, professionals, wives, leaders and friends, and I am honored to be involved in the group.

Why Join A Krewe?

Volkswagen-esque bus floatI joined the Hip Huggers Mardi Gras krewe because of the fun-loving ladies, most of whom are involved in other aspects of the community. Our members are philanthropic-minded and participate in local charitable causes.

There are lots of ways to get involved with a krewe and all krewes differ on how to become a member. Within each krewe organization, there are numerous roles to fill. From holding a board of director’s position to committee liaison, krewes can serve as a great tool for networking, camaraderie and even professional development. 

Some of my closest and dearest friends participate in Mardi Gras krewes. We each have our reasons for joining. Personally, I love the excitement of the parades. It is an ultimate rush when the parade route begins and attendees are screaming and waving for beads or throws. Watching the huge grins and screams of joy from parade-goers as you toss them beads from around your neck, that’s what Mardi Gras is all about. Hence the saying: Laissez les bon temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

Come join us for Mardi Gras in Pensacola. You will be sure to have a good time!

Pensacola’s Mardi Gras season officially begins with a Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-Off Celebration “parade in reverse” on Friday, Jan. 6, at 5:30 p.m. The Pensacola Bay Area’s three main parades are packed into a single weekend, Feb. 24-26.

-Whitney Fike