When most people think of Mardi Gras, they don’t normally think of Pensacola, Fla., but as the “City of Five Flags”, the destination is rooted deep in French and multicultural history. Dating back to the 1700s, settlers claimed ownership of the city for several years, and their French influence was generally dominant amongst the Creoles in the Gulf Coast. Since then, Pensacola has adopted one of France’s oldest and most popular cultural phenomena as its own, welcoming over 100,000 guests each winter for an unforgettable Mardi Gras experience. Below is a guide for how to experience Mardi Gras celebrations in Pensacola.
Start the first night right by attending the 12th Night Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-off on Jan. 6, 2024. Located in the East Garden District on Jefferson St., north of Garden St., visitors and locals alike line Seville Quarter to take part in the launch of the Carnival season. Experience the sounds of traditional jazz music, take part in the lively dancing throughout the streets, and even enjoy a taste of the classic King’s Cake.
If you’re a lover of the furriest of friends, then Pawdi Gras is a must-do. On Jan. 28, 2024, WolfGang Park and Brews will host Pensacola's 3rd Annual Pawdi Gras event. The addition to Pensacola’s Mardi Gras lineup combines both fun and service as each year the event chooses a local benefactor. This year, the committee has chosen the Escambia County Department of Animal Welfare, a local animal shelter, to donate the proceeds to. Complete with a block party, paw parade, and even a Bow Wow Luau-themed costume contest, this family and furries event always brings the local community together with good times for a great cause.
Both of these events lead into the city’s biggest party of the year on Feb. 10, 2024, The Grand Mardi Gras Parade. For Pensacola’s most extravagant party, it’s only fitting visitors get to experience a bedazzling spectacle. Winding through Historic Downtown Pensacola, the parade hosts about 6,000 participants, including a royal court complete with a king and queen, dozens of vibrant floats, marching bands, dance teams, and of course an avalanche of gold, green, and purple beads. Paralleling the sugar-white sand beaches, visitors can’t ask for a more beautiful backdrop for a Mardi Gras outing.
Running from the first Friday in January all the way to Fat Tuesday in mid-February, there are several other events on the calendar that are sure to fulfill any visitor’s Mardi Gras fix. There’s no better time to soak up Gulf Coast culture than in the Floridian sunshine, and while visitors are visiting the destination, they can experience all of the charm Pensacola has to offer.
To learn more about how to perfectly curate a traveler’s Mardi Gras celebration, please let us know and we’re happy to provide any additional information or assets you may need.