Mobile Mardi Gras

    When: January 21, 2013 – February 21, 2013

    Where: Mobile, Alabama

    Price: Free

    Experience the first and original Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile, Alabama. Parades and parties will be held for the public and will last several weeks, all in preparation for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Downtown Mobile will be filled with vibrant sights and sounds of outstanding marching bands, brilliantly colored floats, and parade goers. Masked riders will toss gifts (“throws”) such as beaded necklaces, candy, and stuffed animals from floats. Watch them and admire the artistry of their satin clothes. Go there to see Mobile’s exciting culture, and discover why so many choose to live there!

    History of Mobile’s Mardi Gras

    Despite New Orleans’ reputation for Mardi Gras, it was not the first in America. Mobile first started its Mardi Gras celebration in 1703 (15 years before New Orleans was founded), and also became known as the “America’s Family Mardi Gras,” for the increased safety and family-oriented festivities.

    In the weeks of Mardi Gras, there are many masked balls and parties held by secret societies, such as the Cowbellian De Rakin Society. Many wear elegant costumes and dresses. Some parties, men wear white tie and tails while women wear full-length evening gowns. It’s all part of centuries old tradition, and each dance is limited to members only – making it a mysterious and much talked about event in Mobile.

    One feature that is unique from New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, is the addition of Joe Cain Day. After the Civil War, Mobile was disheartened and discouraged from celebration, except one man – Joseph Stillwell Cain. He decided to raise Mobile’s spirits by dressing as a Chickasaw Indian and calling himself “Chief Slacabormorinico.” He hopped into a decorated coal wagon and had a one-float parade. After that, Mobile’s spirits lifted and decided to launch a parade of “anything you can push.”

    Mobile’s Mardi Gras Schedule

    Mardi Gras in Mobile starts on Saturday, January 21 at 1 p.m. For detailed information about parade routes and float schedules, click here.

    Residents of Fairhope, Spanish Fort, Springhill, Semmes, and West Mobile are advised to arrive early to avoid traffic.