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Mardi Gras

11 Mardi Gras celebrations that aren't in New Orleans

During Carnival season, over a million people head to New Orleans to celebrate and collect as many beads as they can. But we know not everyone can make it to the Big Easy for the festivities. Luckily, Mardi Gras celebrations extend throughout the South. These 11 other Southern cities have their own extravagant Fat Tuesday celebrations that are worth checking out. 

Photo credit: C H Fenstermaker & Associates, LLC Facebook

Mobile skyline

Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama

Mardi Gras in Mobile is a tradition that dates back to 1703, when the first Carnival celebration took place in the United States. Today, Mobile's parties rival those in nearby New Orleans, with close to 1 million spectators and almost as many beads and Krewe parades thrown throughout the two-week-long festitvities. Even better? There are moon pies.

Photo credit: Catherine Arensburg Facebook

Pensacola Mardi Gras

Pensacola Mardi Gras in Pensacola, Florida

More than 100,000 people come out to celebrate during the Mardi Gras celebrations in downtown Pensacola. Krewe parades take place throughout the weekend before Fat Tuesday, but the main attraction is the Grand Mardi Gras parade, which boasts over 6,000 participants. Along with beads and coins, they’ve adapted Mobile’s tradition of throwing MoonPies to spectators along the parade route. 

Photo credit: Hilton Pensacola Beach Facebook
Photo credit: Phil Bailey Photo Facebook


Fasching, A German-style Mardi Gras in Helen, Georgia

Instead of celebrating New Orleans-style, this small town in Northern Georgia will be celebrating Fasching, a German-style Mardi Gras. Helen's Bavarian winter Karnival includes indulgent German food, live German music and German dancing. There will be a costume contest, so make sure to wear as much purple, green and gold as possible. 

Photo credit: Cool River Tubing Company Facebook

Tybee Mardi Gras

Tybee Mardi Gras in Tybee Island, Georgia

Tybee Island will be celebrating its 10th annual Mardi Gras celebration this year. During the festivities, the entire town comes alive with colorful costumes, masks and a parade that runs down Butler Avenue. Revelers have the chance to catch beads, coins and toys while watching the parade. The festivities continue into the evening with the Tybee Mardi Gras Street Party, where the winners of the costume contest will be crowned. Along with winners in the pets and Krewe categories, the winners of Tybee Mardi Gras Prince, Princess, King and Queen will be announced, too. 

Photo credit: Tybee Tales Facebook

Mardi Gras Streetcar Adventure

Mardi Gras Streetcar Adventure in Atlanta, Georgia

Take a tour of downtown Atlanta on the Atlanta Streetcar while enjoying Mardi Gras festivities at 35 different restaurants and bars. Make sure to dress up to get free perks, such as shots and Mardi Gras beads. Some of the stops along the way include Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria, Old 4th Distillery and Sweet Auburn Curb Market. 

Photo credit: Atlanta Bar Tours Facebook

Gulf Coast Mardi Gras

Gulf Coast Mardi Gras in Biloxi, Mississippi

Since 1908, the Gulf Coast Carnival Association has been throwing a Biloxi Mardi Gras celebration to remember. That first parade began with only 17 floats and 50 flambeau carriers, but today, more than 450,000 people head to the this city on the Gulf Coast for to see over 20 different parades

Photo credit: Boomtown Casino Biloxi Facebook

The Epicenter in Charlotte

Mardi Gras Parade of Beads Celebration in Charlotte, North Carolina

Although it’s located in downtown Charlotte, you’ll feel like you’re on Bourbon street if you celebrate Mardi Gras at the Epicenter. The shopping and restaurant center is throwing a big party with plenty of beads to go around. Local marching bands will act as Krewes and will put on a Mardi Gras parade, while street performers provide even more live entertainment throughout the night. 

Photo credit: Alive after five- Charlotte Facebook

Mardi Growl

Mardi Growl in Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville doesn’t have an official Krewe-filled Carnival parade, but it does have a Mardi Growl Parade to help you celebrate Fat Tuesday with your furry friends. For the past 11 years, the streets of downtown Knoxville fill with dogs dressed in their Mardi Gras best. Along with showing off adorable pups, the parade acts as the Young-Williams Animal Center's largest fundraiser, which helps support more than 10,000 animals in the area. 

Photo credit: Young Williams Animal Center Facebook

Galveston Mardi Gras

107th celebration of Mardi Gras in Galveston, Texas

The two weeks leading up to Mardi Gras in Galveston are filled with live entertainment, great food and extravagant parades. This year more than 300,000 people are expected to flock to Galveston’s historic downtown district for the festivities. Non-stop Krewe parades fill the weekend leading up the big day, and later, at the Bud Light stage, over 30 different concerts will continue the celebrations late into the evening. 

Photo credit: Mardi Gras! Galveston Facebook

Folly Gras

Folly Gras 2018 in Folly Beach, South Carolina

This South Carolina beach town knows how to throw a Mardi Gras celebration with a South Carolina twist. Along with a lively parade, the whole town comes alive with a street festival that draws people from all across the Low Country. Restaurants throughout Folly Beach will be creating New Orleans-style dishes, and live music from Soulfish and the Eddie Bush Band will be playing throughout the day on the West Huron Avenue stage.  

Photo credit: Joanne Ginsberg Facebook

Mardi Gras chicken run

Mardi Gras in Lake Charles and Lafayette, Louisiana

For Cajun country, Mardi Gras means chicken runs, parades and gumbo cookoffs. Krewe parades take place throughout the weekend leading up to Mardi Gras, culminating in giant Fat Tuesday celebrations in downtown Lake Charles and Lafayette. Our furry friends can also get in on the Mardi Gras fun with a parade of their own. The Mystical Krewe of Barkus will be hosting a dog parade at the Lake Charles Civic Center this Saturday. 

Photo credit Courir de Mardi Gras: Louisiana Travel Facebook

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Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.