Mardi Gras 2017 is only about 7 weeks away, and if you’re attending for the first time, this famous New Orleans celebration can be a little overwhelming. What would you do when you get there? Where will you go? We’ll be honest, preparing for such a big event can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’ve never done it before. With that in mind, we’ve listed a few tips that can help you prep for the biggest, merriest free show in the planet.
When Is Mardi Gras This Year?
Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”) falls on a different day every year. The event is held the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent which is the season of fasting. This year, Mardi Gras will be held on February 28th.
Take note though, that Mardi Gras is held during Carnival season, which starts January 6th every year and ends on Mardi Gras day. If you’re attending the event with your family, the best time to go is the week of February 24 to 28, when most of the parades are held.
How Do You Want To Experience Mardi Gras?
There are two ways to experience Mardi Gras and how your holiday will go depends on where you go to watch the parades. If you’re going with your mates or by yourself, head to the French Quarter for a lot of adult fun. There’d be a lot of booze and lewdness but please – NO nudity. Such antics are illegal in New Orleans. Besides, you don’t want to spend the rest of Mardi Gras in jail, do you?
If, on the other hand you’re going with your kids, St. Charles Avenue is the place for family-friendly Mardi Gras celebrations. There are plenty of areas for family picnics and enough room along the parade route for your ladders (we’ll get to those ladders in a minute).
Catch Them Beads!
Catching Mardi Gras beads has become as important as the parades and floats themselves. Float riders throw things to the eager crowd: beads, coins (doubloons), plastic cups and even hand-painted souvenirs. In St. Charles Avenue, float riders throw stuffed animals to kids, keeping with the area’s family-friendly atmosphere.
Ladders Are A Must
Parade ladders are as much a part of the Mardi Gras parades as the throwing of the beads. The ladders not only provide young kids with a view of the festivities, parade goers even truck out these ladders, creating a vibrant sight along the parade route. You can also buy step ladders in local hardware stores. Most of them come installed with safety bars and kiddie seats.
A few important reminders, though. Stepladders MUST be placed no closer than six feet from the curb. Never leave your kids unattended on the ladder. In fact, an adult is required to stand on the ladder to keep it in place for safety.
Prep The Kids
While Mardi Gras is family-friendly, it is still important to let your kids know what to expect before, during and after the parades. Always remind them not to reach out for the floats or stick out their hands when catching items from the float riders. Point out police stations or help centres that your kids can go to for help if they get separated from you during the trip. Also, remember to stick to daytime parades as the rowdier “adult” parades are held in the evenings.
Leave The Pets At Home
It’s not that you cannot bring your pets to Mardi Gras, because you can. It’s just that the environment and all the festivities won’t be as fun for your dog as it would be for you. There’s loud noise everywhere; Crowds of merrymakers leave little space for you to walk your dog around. There are very few places your pet can be take to for a rest. So to avoid unnecessary stress on your pet and on yourself, it’s best to leave the fur babies at home.
Festivities Stop At Midnight
All parades and street parties stop at the stroke of midnight. Lent officially begins and all the festivities stop. At exactly 12 AM, policemen on horseback lead street cleaners and make sure all merry makers clear the area. So it’s best to avoid the huge crowds going back to their hotels and head back to your own accommodations before midnight, especially if you have kids with you.
An RV Rental Solves Accommodation Worries
It’s difficult to book hotel or motel rooms during Mardi Gras. And if you’re just finalising your plans now – only a few weeks before the event – it’s nearly impossible. The solution? drive to New Orleans on an RV rental. You don’t have to worry about booking accommodations and you can take that home on wheels to do a spot of sightseeing around New Orleans after the parades.
There are plenty of places you can park your RV rental in during your stay in the city. Many people actually prefer to do this, because it’s difficult to find parking spots downtown where most of the parades are held.
Mardi Gras is a spectacle of music, colours, tradition and one heck of a party. No words can describe the revelry. You need to go to New Orleans and experience it yourself. So what are you waiting for? Mardi Gras 2017 is just around the corner. Get yourself an RV rental today and let’s party!