Mardi Gras is making a comeback to Fort Walton Beach

Mardi Gras was a huge tradition here for many years and it’s unfortunately gone quiet for a little while. But that’s no longer the case as the City of Fort Walton Beach has stepped up to the plate to help revive the beloved tradition and bring it to Downtown Fort Walton Beach.

“It goes along with our whole downtown revitalization.”

Michael Beedie, City Manager for Fort Walton Beach

“We had approached the Chamber of Commerce about three or four years ago about taking over the Mardi Gras parade. We already helped with the Bowlegs parade and we also run the Christmas parade. So we’re well-versed in how to run a parade. And with Mardi Gras becoming much bigger over in Northwest Florida, light like Mobile and new Orleans, we wanted to create a festive environment downtown and try to get a lot of people to come downtown and do a really traditional Mardi Gras parade.”

The plan is to have a traditional Mardi Gras parade and to get krewes from the local area involved with the comeback. If you’re thinking this will be similar to the Bowlegs and Christmas parade that highlights local businesses and activities, think again!

“We want to kind of keep it more Mardi Gras-ish like Mobile and New Orleans do”, said Beedie. “We may start out a little small this first year, but we hope to grow it over the years and really become the premier Mardi Gras parade in Northwest Florida.”

“I’m so excited about this”, said Donna Tashik, Arc of The Emerald Coast. “We needed it back. This is such a fine Southern tradition from Louisiana and for a few years it just stopped at Navarre. I’m so thankful that the City decided to pick it back up. It’s gonna be fun.”

When: Sunday, February 9th
Where: Corner of Ferry Road SE and First Street SE
Time: 10:30am (pre-party lineup) with parade starting at 1pm-4pm
Route: The parade route starts at First Street and Eglin Parkway with floats lining up on First Street. The parade will travel up Eglin Parkway, right on Perry Avenue, slight right on Ferry Road, ending at First Street. 

Want your Krewe to join the Mardi Gras parade, click here for the application.

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