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There's a reason an estimated 450,000 people come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast each year for Mardi Gras, and it starts with the parades! With over 20 parades, "Carnival on the Coast" is bigger than it's ever been, and it only gets better with each passing year. If you've never been to a Mardi Gras parade before, then you're in for a treat and need to check out this year's schedule. If you're a veteran of the season but have never ridden on a float, contact one of the many Coastal Krewes and see if someone has room! If there's one thing the Mississippi Gulf Coast is known for, it's hospitality, and most people love having new guests on their floats. Going to a parade is certainly awesome, but BEING in a parade is an absolute blast!
Mardi Gras Museums
If you love the parades, the pageantry and everything else that goes along with Mardi Gras, but are a little fuzzy on the history of it all, be sure to check out one of the two wonderful Mardi Gras museums on the Coast. Both museums feature lots of artifacts, photos and even costumes from previous Fat Tuesday festivities. The museum in Biloxi is closed for a few more weeks while renovations are completed, but the gift shop is still open. The museum in Bay St. Louis, however, is open and ready for your visit. They even let you try some of the old costumes on!
Perhaps the most popular food to eat during Mardi Gras is the oh-so-delicious King Cake. As you can imagine, there are dozens of great places on the Coast where you can find the popular sweet treat, including supermarkets, but we suggest one of the terrific local bakeries, such as Le Bakery, Cakes by Tina, Cheeky Monkey Cake Company, or Greenhouse on Porter if you feel like a King Cake biscuit. If you find a tiny plastic baby in your slice, you have to bring the cake next year!
Fueling Up for the Festivities
One thing you will quickly realize when you come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for Mardi Gras is that many people like to booze it up not long after they wake up. Some parades start fairly early, so be sure to get a good, hearty breakfast/brunch before you put your party pants on. As far as brunch goes, some of the best options down here are Bayview Gourmet in Ocean Springs, Mockingbird Cafe in Bay St. Louis, plus Le Cafe Beignet and Patio 44 in Biloxi. And if you feel like a Bloody Mary, The Office in Ocean Springs makes a phenomenal one!
So go be merry, have fun, and laissez les bons temps rouler, or let the good times roll!