A Mini New Orleans Mardi Gras Fun Event
Fat Tuesday celebrations are hardly limited to places like New Orleans and Rio.
Neither are parades.
One of the most fun places to be for the big party climax of Carnival is downtown San Diego. The Southern California city by the sea hosts a parade that runs right through the Gaslamp Quarter downtown. After a brief move to Saturday last year, in 2017 it’s back on a Tuesday, which in 2917 puts it on Feb. 28.
This is New Orleans or Rio for those who can’t make it to New Orleans or Rio.
San Diego’s Fat Tuesday celebration is a Mini Mardi Gras, a close-your-eyes-and-you-could-be-on-Bourbon Street party.
This is not some small, silly community event masquerading as a Mardi Gras parade. It’s a full-on affair, complete with fun-loving parade participants throwing beads off floats to people – of which there are about 50,000 – lined up along the street.
There are street performers a DJ pumping tunes – this year Warren G headlines with his hit “Regulate” – and even a parade.
It is remarkably similar to New Orleans (well, almost, and there’s enough room to move around as opposed to Bourbon Street for Fat Tuesday). Look at the people in costumes and it could even be Rio. The crowd loves to collect beads and there are some girls anxious – and willing – to earn even more.
The Masquerade Parade
The Masquerade Parade goes from 9:30-10:30 and is the unquestioned highlight of the event. Thousands line the parade route and they beg for beads. With plenty of beer stations, it’s even easier to get a drink here than on Bourbon Street.
The block party takes place along 5th Ave. The area is blocked off, beer is sold in the street from booths, people are dancing and the balconies of the bars are packed.
With go-go dancers on platforms, people dancing in the street and hip – and hot – DJs – Fifth Avenue turns into San Diego’s biggest dance club (bigger than even anything in Vegas or South Beach can produce).
Throughout the event, the many restaurants and bars of the area welcome customers with dinner and drink specials – and the customers respond by consuming lots of food and drinks.
This is a ticketed event, The prices are $35 and $85 for VIP. The VIP admission includes seven drinks, VIP entry, private lounge, $1 off drinks at the VIP bar, access to the VIP stage and nice restrooms. It is very important to note there are no in/out privileges.
The event lasts from 6 p.m.-midnight. You can buy tickets in advance from the event’s Mardi Gras website.