Mardi Gras, Pennsylvania

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18th Annual Mardi Gras Celebration...
The first recorded Mardi Gras celebration in what is now the United States occurred in 1699, on the Mississippi River island just downstream from New Orleans. The French explorer who threw the celebration named the place Mardi Gras Island. He then moved upriver and staked out the site for modern New Orleans. Mardi Gras wasn't celebrated first in the United States at all, of course. Carnival has been celebrated in Christian and quasi-Christian countries in Europe and elsewhere for hundreds of years.
Here in Williamsport, Pennsylvania we are celebrating our 18th annual Mardi Gras... February 28 - March 1, 2014. No, we're not New Orleans... but if you live in Pennsylvania, New York or New Jersey we can give you (and the tens of thousands that have come in the past) a fair taste of the Carnival at a dozen participating establishments - all within walking distance of each other. Visit each club and vote for the king or queen of Mardi Gras. Proceeds benefit local charities!

Plus enjoy great food, Jim Beam, Cruzan Rum and Bud Light specials all weekend long with lots of live entertainment! Enjoy a family friendly parade and fireworks display Saturday night!

The parade starts at 6pm.

After the parade there will be a coronation of the king or queen of Mardi Gras, and finally check out the fireworks display in the area of City Hall. There will be a Hurricane drink contest, gumbo cookoff and a huge prize pack!

Click here for scheduled events, bands and parties.

Victorian Bed and Breakfast near Williamsport, PA

Vacation Rentals

Barrel 135
Francos Restaurant and Music Club

Rum Runners Eatery and Pub

Restaurant and Inn

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Mardi Gras Facts

The colors of Carnival are purple, green and gold, chosen in New Orleans in 1872 by that year's Rex. The 1892 Rex parade gave the official colors meaning: purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power. Try to dress accordingly.

Rex: Referred to only as "Rex," or as "Rex, king of Carnival," never as the redundant "King Rex" or "King of Rex." We'll elect our 9th King or Queen on Saturday.

Throws: Trinkets pitched from a parade float. They include doubloons, beads, cups and plastic toys. This will happen Saturday.

"Throw me something, Mister" The traditional cry of parade-goers pleading for throws.
  • Yell "Throw me something, Mister!" (Or, "Throw me something, Lady!" at female riders). This is the mainstay of the paradegoer's lexicon, learned by New Orleans' babies at their parents' knees. Join in, with gusto.
  • Use a bullhorn to yell "Throw me something, Mister!" People really do this. We're not kidding. Hold aloft a sign that says "We came all the way from Australia," even though you're from Pittsburgh. The more exotic the location, the better.

    Courir Du Mardi Gras: The Mardi Gras run, a Cajun celebration of Mardi Gras in which masked, costumed men ride horses from house to house around the countryside, asking for chickens, rice, sausage and other ingredients for a gumbo. Afterward, there is dancing and the gumbo. While we don't actually do this (yet) in Williamsport you will find food that is as good, if not better, than New Orleans.

    Maskers: A term referring to both the float riders, who normally are masked, and those who costume for Mardi Gras. If you don't have a mask you'll find them available here on the streets.

    Beads: As in "He who has the most beads at the end wins!" Your goal...get as many beads as you can! The vast majority of beads are tossed from parade floats into the arms of parade watchers. There are many ways to get beads, from snagging them from the air to stomping on them more quickly than the granny next to you to carrying a cute baby. You can buy them from many of the vendors, you can exchange them in the bars for drinks, etc. Beads are also traded for kisses or hugs, or just because someone likes your looks or feels sorry for you (the latter being the reason many of the waiters and waitresses in the restaurants and bars get beads). Please note that there are other activities people have used to get beads which are technically illegal and we would never condone such activity.
  • Click here for accommodations, driving directions and other area information!
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