Mardi Gras is a day of celebration usually associated with New Orleans, Louisiana, but Port Arthur gives Mardi Gras a big Texas treatment. The first Mardi Gras was held in Port Arthur in 1993. The event lasts four days, starting on a Thursday. Mardi Gras in Port Arthur, Texas, offers events and activities for the whole family. Local carnival volunteer groups, called "Krewes," give their time every year to prepare the festivities.
Parades are held daily during Mardi Gras in Port Arthur, Texas. There are parades for kids only, who ride their bikes, pull wagons or march to the beat of a marching band. Past parades featured decorated golf carts, motorcycle and all terrain vehicles and antique cars. Almost every parade has a jazz band and a marching band to entertain the crowds. Night parades are lead by flambeaux carriers dressed in white robes or wearing elaborate Native American costumes. There are at least two parades every day during Mardi Gras in Port Arthur.
The Grand Parade begins around 6 p.m. on Saturday evening. The Majestic Krewe of Aurora plan the parade and the floats. The Grand Parade floats are elaborately decorated with brightly colored lights, sculptures and colorful banners. Some floats are large enough to hold dozens of participants. The members of the Aurora Krewe dress in colorful costumes and dance in along the parade route to exciting marching band music. The Grand Parade is the culmination of a year's worth of preparation.
The Aurora's Grand Ball is one of the most elegant events in Texas. The members and their sponsors dress in elaborate costumes. The dresses are adorned with huge feather backs and long trains. The previous Mardi Gras king and queen pass their crowns to the new king and queen at this event. The Grand Ball is for members and sponsors only.
Each day of Mardi Gras is packed with attractions for the whole family. Past attractions have included the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses. There is a fun carnival atmosphere over the entire town of Port Arthur as artists, musicians, clowns and magicians wander the streets entertaining everyone. The children enjoy pony rides and petting zoos. There are plenty of food vendors offering local treats and carnival fare.
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