In the interest of safety and social responsibility, the City of Pensacola and most Pensacola Mardi Gras organizations made the difficult decision not to host the big public events as scheduled for the 2021 Mardi Gras season. This included parades, the Kick-Off Celebration and Blessing of the Fleet of Krewes. These events correlated with Mardi Gras traditions that cannot be replaced but can be imitated.
For 2021 a one-time unique experience will allow the Krewes of Mardi Gras to celebrate together, after the negative environment of COVID is relaxed. Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties will join in Carnivale, a celebration with the energy of Mardi Gras, joining historical celebrations traditionally held in conjunction with the start of summer. Carnivale will include a Kick-Off, a Carnivale Grand Parade, and the Fiesta Grand Parade. During Carnivale, special tribute and respect will be paid to Memorial Day.
Ticket sales have resumed, and sales will be limited to the first 3000 tickets sold. ALL PREVIOUSLY SOLD TICKETS WILL BE HONORED.
Same Mardi Gras Spirit, Amazing New Format
CARNIVALE is a multi-week celebration that brings the energy of Mardi Gras for the community and combines it with events before during and after Memorial Day Weekend. There will be a Carnivale Kick-Off and Blessing of the Krewes on Friday May 21, 2021; the Carnivale Grand Parade on Saturday May 29th; and the Fiesta Grand Parade on Friday June 4th, 2021.
Obviously getting past Covid-19 is at the top of everyone’s list. Many events and activities were canceled, which kept our Krewes apart. Krewes are an important piece of the fabric of Pensacola so while Mardi Gras could not happen, our wonderful Krewes can recreate the energy of Mardi Gras, and we have plans to celebrate together as socially responsible as possible.
Producing and attending a socially responsible event right here in Pensacola is the top priority for all of us, and to have a socially responsible event it requires a change in venue which includes a maximum capacity of attendees. We will limit attendance to 3000 and when we have that many guests (including VIP’s and Sponsors), we will close ticket sales. We all want Carnivale to happen in 2021, but however we must be responsible, and our pledge is to provide a controlled and responsible event.
We made the decision to move the event from the still-parade format to a gated outdoor venue at the City of Pensacola Roger Scott Athletic Complex. An outdoor, controlled event, allows us to party together in a safe environment. We will control access to the festivities and provide an outdoor Mardi Gras type festival unlike anything Pensacola has ever experienced!
Masks in one form or another have always been a big part of Mardi Gras. For 2021 we are adding a 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 masks on at all times that guests are not eating or drinking. In 2021, masks can and will let Carnivale happen!
To expand on the socially responsible production of the Carnivale Kick-Off event outside at Roget Scott, we wanted to find a way for ticketing, and all transactions to be touchless. We are working with a technology company out of New Orleans (where else would you expect to create the energy of Mardi Gras) to provide every attendee with a custom and personal RFID wristband that will allow each paid guest entry into the event and to redeem their included food and beverages that are included with admission, along with purchase more, all happening touchless. The RFID wristband company provides this technology to festivals and large events all over the county and is bringing this marvelous technology to Pensacola for the Carnivale Kick-Off Celebration. (Many of you recognize the technology if you’ve been to one of the Florida theme parks that use magic bands)
Paid attendees will receive their wristband(s) in the mail, based on their ticket purchase transaction (if you bought 2 tickets we will mail them both to you, etc…). All General Admission ticket holders and VIP’s will receive their custom wristbands well in advance of the event so that you can go on line and activate them and store payment info through the app. That way, redeeming perks included with your ticket or any purchases you make at one of our incredible vendors at the event will be as simple as waving your wrist over a panel! Wristbands will be scanned at the gate for admission and will allow for only VIP’s entry to VIP areas.
Please note, because of the limited scale this event is 21+ only
Each general admission ticket will get free parking, access to the event, a special bbq pack provided by our friends at Smokin in the Square and (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;
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 remember, all transactions will be touchless!
We have a strict limit of 3000 attendees, which will allow us to manage the dance areas and table seating in the safest manner possible.
This extremely limited offering of VIP Tickets will grant access to a special VIP area with open bar, complimentary upscaled Cajun food specialties, 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.
Your wristband will determine which areas you are able to enter so if all-access is your thing, get the VIP tickets quick, because those will be strictly limited.
The Chee-Weez, a 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.
Opening up for the Chee-Weez will be a classic NOLA brass jazz band, The New Orleans Ramblers Second Line Band , and 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!