Your Downtown Guide to Mardi Gras

Posted: Jan 29, 2020 07:19 pm Updated: Oct 17, 2023 10:03 am

The good times are rolling in Downtown Pensacola with Pensacola Mardi Gras. Grab your beads, masks and all things purple, gold and green and get ready to celebrate Carnival. Mardi Gras celebrations are taking place throughout the month of February and the weekend before Fat Tuesday, you can check out three back-to-back celebrations featuring colorful floats, lights and music. So grab your bag, and get ready to stock up on moon pies, candy and lots and lots of beads. 


The Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated Parade will roll through Downtown Pensacola on Friday, February 21. This is the only nighttime Mardi Gras parade and all the floats will be decked out in colorful lights. Parade-goers can also dance to live music and try to catch all the throws. It starts at 7:00 p.m. on the corner of Spring and Garden Streets and winds through downtown.  

On Saturday, February 22, it’s the big one. The Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade is the largest and most extravagant parade of the year with over 6,000 participants and often over 100,000 spectators. It starts at Palafox and Garden Streets at 2:00 p.m. and runs for four hours! Get your spot early and prepare for a festive crowd. If you are looking for a family-friendly spot, there is a designated children’s viewing area. 

Finally from February 23-24, you can take part in the Fat Tuesday Priscus Celebration to close out the festivities and see a new King and Queen Priscus revealed to all in Downtown Pensacola.


It’s a delicious tradition that shouldn’t be skipped during Mardi Gras Season: King Cake! If you don’t want to take a road trip to New Orleans, several bakeries are serving up the sweet treat right here in Pensacola. However, you may want to call ahead to make sure the king cakes are available and some businesses require you to place an order before pick-up.


Downtown restaurants are also attracting revelers with special Mardi Gras fare. Jackson’s Steakhouse is serving Mardi Gras inspired dishes for both brunch and dinner on February 23. Come enjoy the cajun cuisine from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.


Are you parade ready but still need beads and throws? Have no fear, Pensacola Parade People, have you covered.  It's the only store in Pensacola dedicated to parade supplies. Located on West Government Street, the shop has a huge selection of beads of all sizes, hats, cups, novelties and throws. Make sure you check them out before you hop on a float or join the starting line for this year’s parades.