Pensacola Mardi Gras is a multi-week celebration, lasting from Twelfth Night through Fat Tuesday, bringing people together from across the Gulf Coast and the country. Pensacola’s Mardi Gras celebrates multiple cultures and customs with a unique local flair that only Pensacola, Florida can offer. Each year, Pensacola’s Mardi Gras draws in over 100,000 people for its main event, the Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade, which takes place in downtown Pensacola on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday. This event is a celebration of culture, music, food, art, and most of all, family fun.

Pensacola prides itself on being a family-friendly celebration which separates us from other Gulf Coast celebrations taking place in nearby cities such as Mobile, Biloxi and New Orleans. Our events include something for all ages to ensure the whole family is comfortable celebrating Mardi Gras in all of its unique splendor and magic. Fun and celebration during an entire season of activities is sure to develop memories for a lifetime. With these ideals in place, Pensacola Mardi Gras, Inc. works to expand each Mardi Gras season to insure the best Mardi Gras celebration possible for guests of all ages.

The great adventure all began in 1874 with the first Knights of Priscus Association, according to historian John Appleyard. However, the first organized parades died off quickly until the 1900s when they became such a success that in 1902 the Carnival Association was formed. Pensacola welcomed a new King Priscus year after year by lining the streets from Palafox to Government with candle-powered lamps. King Priscus, Queen Priscus and all the maids paraded the streets with “themed” floats until 1930.

In the late 1970s, Mardi Gras of Pensacola was formed and brought back the Fat Tuesday Pub Crawl along with a Grand Parade. Participants would raise money for local charities and the one that raised the most became King and Queen Priscus. But, alas, as with previous associations Mardi Gras again, went away in Pensacola.

Various entities tried to revive Mardi Gras in Pensacola until 2002 when a group of friends formed Pensacola Mardi Gras, Inc. (“PMGI”). They vowed to work hard to make Mardi Gras in Pensacola a season instead of just a day, and went to work gathering local sponsors. Without the hard work and dedication of PMGI, its sponsors and the city, Mardi Gras in Pensacola could sadly repeat history and fade away.

Today during the Mardi Gras season, Pensacola is part of a great tradition and is quickly becoming a rival to New Orleans and Mobile.

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