Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-Off Event

2022 Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-Off Event

Presented By: Catalyst & The East Garden District

All early bird tickets already purchased are valid for the new and exciting event location.

BUY YOUR 2022 KICK-OFF EVENT TICKETS HERE

 

2022 Pensacola’s Mardi Gras Kick-Off and The Twelfth Night

The 2022 Mardi Gras season marks the 11th year for the Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-Off Celebration, and man, what a great event this has become!

When we started this event 11 years ago, we did not know if this event would even be something that Pensacola would rally behind, but our Krewes and community sure showed us!   It was a cold and misty Thursday night. We started off with 10 floats and a couple of radio station vans sprinkled throughout a couple of blocks of South Palafox Street. In 2019 we hosted 40 floats and had to expand our footprint to include Government and Zarragossa Street! With locations of floats unpredictable, and closing downtown streets being complicated, we have moved to a wonderful new location, The East Garden District, on Jefferson Street north of Garden Street.

Over the years, the day of the event had to change from being on the actual Twelfth Night (January 6) to simply the first Friday after the Twelfth Night. Because we could no longer hold it on the actual Twelfth Night, we had to adapt the name and changed it to the Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-Off Celebration.

 

Same Mardi Gras Spirit, Amazing New Format – DOWNTOWN

Obviously COVID-19 was on everyone’s mind earlier this year. While many events and activities were canceled, we modified ours to create a safer and more controlled environment. We wanted Mardi Gras to happen, so we decided that celebrating the Mardi Gras spirit was the next best thing. We produced a special outdoor event at Roger Scott Athletic Fields.  We renamed the event “Carnivale,” included a parade and we found a way for Pensacola’s more than 90 Krewes to join together and celebrate.

Producing and attending a socially responsible event right here in Pensacola remains a top priority for all of us.  We will once again have an outside and controlled environment event to bring our Krewes together and to Kick-Off the 2022 Pensacola Mardi Gras season. We will continue to limit attendance to 3,000 guests. Pensacola Mardi Gras returns to Downtown Pensacola, this year at the East Garden District– a renovated and upgraded outdoor venue like no other.

We love the downtown businesses and are thrilled to get back and celebrate with them! We will control access to the festivities to provide a safe and controlled environment, and deliver an outdoor Mardi Gras festival unlike anything Pensacola has ever experienced!

                                     

 The East Garden District – www.eastgardendistrict.com 

More than 250 years ago, a city plan was developed for Pensacola by Elias Durnford that still inspires today! The EGD project will showcase a landscaping, streetscaping, and planting plan unique to the City of Pensacola, and befitting of the garden lots originally planned by Durnford for Garden Street.

The EGD logo is inspired by both natural and historical elements. The shapes in the logo are inspired by the leaves of the Seville Orange Tree, and the configuration of the shapes is inspired by a compass. A compass is surveyor’s tool, which is a tribute to Elias Durnford’s trade and his indelible hand in Pensacola’s City plan. The green color of the logo is the color of growth and harmony. Learn more about Pensacola’s history and how it inspired the EGD on The History page.

Mask Guidelines

Masks in one form or another have always been a big part of Mardi Gras. For 2022, we are continuing the 2021 modern twist on this and inviting our friends and neighbors to “Laissez le masque le faire” or translated “Let the Mask Make it Happen!” We encourage Krewes to decorate their masks, and enjoy an outdoor event with their masks. In 2022, masks can and will let Mardi Gras happen!

Here at PMGI we have a mascot that has a lot of character and personality.  You may have noticed Mardi the Pensacola Mardi Gras dog has a mask on for 2022. Mardi’s mask is pretty fancy, right?

 

Floats are welcome

Pensacola has more than 90 Krewes. That’s just what we are aware of, so there may be many more.  For the 2022 Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-Off, floats are once again welcome.  We will block off Chase Street from Palafox east to Tarragona and line the floats up just like the Grand Parade float line-up.  This new location will allow all Krewe floats to be together and allow the party to grow.  Krewes are welcome to bring their float, load their floats with fun, and party in the street with other Krewe members.  Applications are required before your float can be approved.  The Sinclair broadcasting team will be broadcasting the event live and will be covering all evening.

Float guests will be at each Krewe’s risk, and we anticipate lots of people gathering around the floats looking for beads and other memorabilia. Floats will arrive between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. and will be loaded into Chase Street. Each Krewe may request which float and other Krewe they would like to be located with, and those decisions will be made based on which Krewes apply first. The number of floats is limited to just over 20. When we recieve your Krewe float application, we will provide you with full instructions.

Fill our your float application here to bring your float to Chase St. for FREE
Kick-Off Application

If float guests have tickets to the Kick-Off event, they will be welcomed, but to attend the East Garden District festivities, you must have a paid ticket.

 

Ticket Information to the Kick-Off Celebration

Please note, because of the limited scale access to this event is 21+ only.  There is no age minimum in the float areas on Chase Street.

Each general admission ticket will gain access to the event, a special BBQ meal provided by our friends at Smokin’ in the Square, along with creole specialties brought to you in partnership with Blue Runner creole foods.

Guests will receive (2) free beverages provided by our wonderful sponsors:
Beer from our friends at Bud Light Seltzer (The Lewis Bear Company)
Premium liquor bar featuring Wild Turkey, SKYY Vodka, Espolon Tequila, Grand Marnier;
a full bar from our friends at Southern Wine and Spirits and Campari USA;
Water / soda / Gatorade from our friends at Pepsi (Buffalo Rock)

We will also have Food Trucks and an array of vendors. We’ll have plenty of bars to reduce lines, and there will be tables and chairs throughout the event.

We have a strict limit of 3000 attendees, which will allow us to manage the dance areas, plus table seating in the safest socially responsible manner possible.

 

VIP Upgrades

This extremely limited offering of VIP Tickets will grant access to a special VIP area with open bar, complimentary upscaled Cajun food specialties, barbecue and all the fixings, private facilities and a prime stage viewing area. The special VIP tent area will allow for expanded seating for the VIP guests and come with a special parking pass giving you closer access for parking.

Special access to The Well and Garden and Grain will be restricted to VIP ticket holders.

The Party

The Chee-Weez

The Chee-Weez, an 80’s and 90’s rock and roll party band from New Orleans, will liven up the event with their own brand of get up and dance cover songs performed in costume.  The Chee-Weez are a touring band who play festivals, casinos, and large venues around the South and beyond.  Known for their high energy, the Chee-Weez are one of Mardi Gras’s most coveted cover bands anywhere.

 

The New Orleans Ramblers

The New Orleans Ramblers will once again lead our processionals and Second Line around Chase Street and inside the event on Jefferson.  Sounds of traditional New Orleans music and second line will help us Kick-Off Pensacola’s Mardi Gras season.  In between, a high energy DJ will keep the crowd going.

Of course, there will be plenty of 2nd line band marches, including the classic 2nd line escort of the costumed Krewes to the main stage where they will be blessed by Father, the Town Crier, and local dignitaries including elected and governmental officials.  Each Krewe that is blessed will receive the customary certificate recognizing their commitment to the Mardi Gras spirit and authorizing their blessed participation in the 2021 season.

Portions of the Kick-Off event including the full Blessing of the Fleet are being broadcast live on one of the stations of our friends at Sinclair Broadcasting; and the blessing will be streamed live on many of our media partners sites.  These streamed proceedings will be available for viewing worldwide!

King Cake

Traditionally, Mardi Gras and the Twelfth Night start with King Cake.  Inside the East Garden District, Father Nick Schumm will bless the community around 9:00 p.m., and there will be King Cake from our special King Cake sponsor (watch our FB page for the big announcement).  King Cake will be free for everyone, while it lasts that is…

More event DETAILS (the fine print):

Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. and the event will continue until the band stops around Midnight.  With wristbands, lanyards (both) AND HAND STAMPS guests may come and go.

Guests must be 21+ to enter.

Krewe costumes are encouraged.

Food will be available when the doors open and will end around 10:00 p.m.

Bars will open when the doors open, and last call will be approximately 15 minutes before the band stops. Drinks may leave, but OUTSIDE DRINKS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN. Bars will feature special Mardi Gras themed drinks for sale at General Admission bars, and free in VIP.

Parking will be provided for VIPs until the VIP lot fills. Other parking is available on a first come first served basis around downtown, including the Jefferson Street parking garage.

The float area will not allow any vehicle other than whatever is pulling your float. Traffic will be closed when Chase Street closes at 4:00 pm. No vehicles will be allowed to park on Chase Street.

Krewe tables will be reserved based on Krewe ticket sales. Please be sure to click which Krewe you are associated with when you buy tickets on Eventbrite. Beginning November 15, we will communicate with you once you purchase your ticket to confirm your Krewe affiliation.

Sinclair Broadcasting will be broadcasting live from the East Garden District and Chase Street.  By purchasing a ticket, or bringing your float, you and your Krewe are authorizing video and audio to be recorded live and used as the producers deem appropriate.

We will make every attempt to provide a socially responsible event including bartenders who are responsible vendors.  We will have hand washing stations, hand sanitizer at the gates, in the portable rest rooms and on the tables.  Masks are encouraged, and we may do random temperature checks. Entrance to the event will be at each participant’s own risk. Ticket purchases will release all individual owners, volunteers, staff and consultants of Pensacola Mardi Gras Inc., The City of Pensacola, and The East Garden District from all liability for both you as an individual, and your Krewe.

The 2022 Kick-Off Event Sponsors