Celebrating Mardi Gras :: Houston Style

Mardi Gras gets a bad rap, but what many may not realize is that Mardi Gras is actually a Christian holiday. It begins on the twelfth night after Christmas, which is known as Epiphany, and continues until Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday {the beginning of Lent}. Sure, there are some rowdy parts of Mardi Gras, but there are also plenty of ways to make this celebration family-friendly. And while we in Houston don’t do Mardi Gras quite as big as our neighbors to the east, Galveston has plenty to offer in the way of family fun events. This year, the Galveston celebration of Mardi Gras is February 2th – 13th and you’ll want to click here to read all about the fun they have in store this year!  

Parades

The daytime parades in Galveston are really fun and very low-key. For the parades that run along the Seawall, there is ample space for parking and it’s easy to get a front-row view without showing up an hour in advance. There are lots of fun beads and performances from local high school marching bands, which makes it very entertaining for the little ones. Most of the parades don’t have the large New Orleans-style floats but they are still a fun way to celebrate the season with festive music and beads galore!

We are planning to attend the Mardi Gras Firefighters Children’s Parade this year. The children’s parade follows the Krewe of Barkus and Meaux {parade of animals} so you essentially get two parades in one. Sponsored by the local Humane Society, the Barkus and Meaux parade features a lot of dogs dressed in costume, and who doesn’t love that?! The Children’s Parade is hosted by local firefighters and first responders so the parade features plenty of fire trucks for your truck-loving littles!   

Photo Credit :: Lauren Holub Photography

King Cakes

The heart of Mardi Gras is definitely the king cake! A king cake is essentially a cake made of cinnamon dough in the shape of a circle with a hole in the middle.  Traditionally, there is a small plastic baby in the cake, and if you get the piece with the baby, then you must bring the next king cake. These days, most cakes do not come with a baby inside because choking hazard, but it’s still a fun tradition for adults.

Locating a quality king cake in Houston is tricky, because while a cake might look scrumptious, it is actually glorified cardboard masked with beautiful icing.  If you don’t order a cake directly from Baton Rouge or New Orleans, then these local bakeries are HMB Contributor approved::

If you are ordering a king cake directly from Louisiana, here are our recommendations::

And our friends over at New Orleans Moms Blog shared this great recipe for a kid-friendly king cake that they can help make! 

Final Thoughts on Mardi Gras

  • Decorating around the house for Mardi Gras couldn’t be easier, thanks to local stores like Arne’s and Party Boy. Beads and masks are plentiful and make for fun dress up games with the kids!
  • Contributor Jennifer wrote a fabulous post last year featuring ways to bring Mardi Gras fun to Houston. I especially loved her idea of hosting a Mardi Gras party where each family is a krewe and they decorate their own wagons. Then line up the wagons and let the parade begin!

However you choose to celebrate Mardi Gras … laissez les bons temps rouler!

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