Three Mardi Gras Parades on the Island

You’ve been seeing the colors—purple, gold and green in particular—and you’ve been hearing all kinds of animated discussions about fancy balls and informal parties.

Mardi Gras, parade, Fat Tuesday, beads, moon pies

How many throws can you catch? Find out at any of three parades in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach on Fat Tuesday, February 21, 2012.

It is Mardi Gras season, after all. And here on Pleasure Island we take on the holiday festivities with not just two, but three parades on the day itself, Fat Tuesday.

To start your day, bring lawn chairs, breakfast or snacks and a thermos of coffee and set up early along Highway 59 anywhere between the Intracoastal Bridge (south side) and the main public beach. The parade will roll at 10 a.m., supplying you with as many beads, moon pies and other treasures as you can catch.

You are bound to make new friends before and during the parade, so after stowing your goodies in your car or house/condo, meet them at any of our fine restaurants to renew your energy before gathering more throws at the next event.

The starting time for the Orange Beach parade is 2:00. You will again want to arrive early to claim your favorite spot along the parade route, so refill your thermos and snack bag and be ready to meet more new friends. Wintzell’s marks the beginning point, and the floats will process eastward to Highway 161.

But wait—there’s more! Scurry over to a spot along Canal Road for the 3:00 Intracoastal Waterway boat parade that runs from The Wharf to LuLu’s. When the parade ends, join everyone at LuLu’s for a daylong party that began at 11:00 with live music by Glen David Andrews from noon until 3. Stay for dinner accompanied by terrific Americana/roots music by Sugarcane Jane from 5 until 9 p.m. It will be a Fat Tuesday to remember: February 21, 2012!

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Real Estate on TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

Mardi Gras Festival

It’s not just parades and fancy balls.

Mardi Gras, Festival, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Alabama, The Wharf

Warm up your voices and your catching arms, and go home with plenty of treasures from the 2012 Pleasure Island Mardi Gras Festival at The Wharf.

Some of you may find that hard to believe, but the Mardi Gras season really does include a wide range of activities. Proof of such is offered this Monday, February 20, at The Pleasure Island Mardi Gras Festival held at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama.

The all-day party begins at 10 a.m. with street entertainers, face painting, clowns and fire breathers. Let the kids put their high energy to use in the bounce house and on the giant slide. At 2 p.m., even Fido can be part of the merriment during the Kid & Pet Parade along Main Street.

From 3 until 5 p.m., Wes Bayliss will break out his guitar and keep everyone happily engaged in the festivities with his country music.

The official Wharf Mardi Gras Parade begins at 5 p.m. Start warming up your voice now so your “Throw me some beads!” yell will bring you plenty of goodies for your bag. The people on the floats and go-carts are prepared to be generous, and the bands will punctuate the treasure collecting with their driving beats.

But don’t go away after that! Hang out with your friends and let those dancing feet prove their stuff as Knee Deep—with their funky blues, reggae and more—keeps things lively until 10 p.m.

Admission and parking are free, so if you can’t stay for the full day, feel free to come and go as you please. Don’t forget to shop, dine, ride the Ferris wheel or take in a movie while you are there. It’s a day for fun, and The Wharf is prepared to make that happen for you.

Can’t join us for Mardi Gras? How about a free night when you stay with us between March 1 and May 6, 2012? Find out how by checking out our spring special.

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Real Estate on TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

Mardi Gras – King of the Keys

Each Mardi Gras season brings much talk of new queens and kings, but there is one king who has kept his title year after year—the King of Keys, Mr. Al Martin.

Beach Cite Studios, Al Martin, Mardi Gras, piano

Mardi Gras history is celebrated through piano stylings of Al Martin at Beach CITE Studios March 2, 2011.

No, “Keys” is not the name of one of the numerous Mardi Gras societies. This king creates magic on the piano keys, making even the least musically inclined tap his or her toes and smile widely as he shares his unique stylings. And he can’t wait to get folks keyed up again on Wednesday, March 2, with a special selection of music to put you in the Mardi Gras spirit.

Doors open at 7:00 p.m. for the 7:30 show in the Listening Room of Beach CITE Studios, located at SanRoc Cay in Orange Beach. Arrive early to do a little shopping and enjoy dinner, then meet your friends for some lively entertainment. Admission is by donation at the door; call 251-981-1989 to guarantee your place, as this king typically holds court with a full house.

The eager anticipation of Mardi Gras is always strong along the Gulf Coast. Whether you are a curious novice or seasoned veteran, let Al Martin help you celebrate by treating your ears to a musical history of the season.

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Real Estate on TwitterFacebook and MySpace.

Something to Think About Series: February

The “Something to Think About” series in Gulf Shores is a fun and informative way to spend a couple of Friday mornings. Mark these free February programs on your calendar so you can plan now to enjoy these lively presentations:

lecture series, something to think about, Gulf Shores, Alabama, mardi gras, lewis and clark, corps of discovery

Enjoy February presentations on local Mardi Gras history and Lewis and Clark during "Something to Think About" series.

February 4
Mardi Gras is an exciting time along the Gulf Coast. Find out from a local former “queen,” Evelyn Sanders, what some of the earlier celebrations were like and how they compare with those of today.

February 18
Lewis and Clark adventures have long captured the interest of winter visitor Dick Ramm. He is eager to share his love of the Corps of Discovery with all those who enjoy this era in history.

Now that we have captured your interest, meet some friends for breakfast, then gather at the Adult Activity Center in Gulf Shores for coffee with more friends (old and new) at 9:30 and the hour-long presentations that begin at 10:00.

For details about these or future sessions, visit the City of Gulf Shores website or call 251-968-1172.

Stay informed of local activities, vacation rental specials and more by subscribing to this Discover Alabama Beaches blog and Meyer Muse, and by following Meyer Real Estate on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

The Delicious Side of Mardi Gras

Quick – name the two foods most associated with Mardi Gras.

Treat yourself during the Mardi Gras season!

Hints: Both are circular in shape. One is associated with parades while the other will be found at the parties (often masked balls) of the season, although both will often show up as a treat in homes and businesses.

Mardi Gras balls and seasonal gatherings are not complete without a king cake. Generally speaking, the king cake is a large round or oval cinnamon coffee cake that is glazed or frosted and then sprinkled generously with sugar colored in the royal hues of purple, green and gold. A small plastic trinket is inserted through the bottom of the cake for a lucky person to find. The person who receives the trinket is said to be the king or queen for the day and will have good fortune for the coming year. Another interpretation explains that the person who finds the trinket must host the following week’s party.

As for the other food, you may be surprised to learn that although Mardi Gras is most often associated with the southern coastal states, the moon pie actually originated in Chattanooga, Tennessee during the early part of the 20th century. It was made by placing marshmallow cream between two graham crackers, then completely coating the sweet, spongy sandwich in chocolate. Years later, in Mobile, Alabama, it became a parade throw (an item tossed from parade floats) due to its soft yet sturdy consistency. Today, moon pies come in a variety of flavors and colors, and parade-goers expect to catch their share of this extremely popular item.

February 16, 2010, is Mardi Gras Day. Since mid-January, numerous organizations have been leading their masked members along parade routes throughout the South. Don’t miss your chance to enjoy the fun and gather some colorful throws. Local parades are as follows:

Fri., Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m. – Orange Beach – Hwy. 182 from Wintzell’s Oyster House to Hwy. 161

Sat., Feb.13, noon – Foley – east on Roosevelt St.

Sat., Feb.13, 6:30 p.m. – Orange Beach – Hwy. 182 from Live Bait to Perdido Pass Bridge

Tues., Feb.16, 10:00 a.m. – Gulf Shores – Hwy. 59 from south end of the Intracoastal Bridge to the beach

Tues., Feb.16, 1:30 p.m. – Orange Beach – Hwy. 182 from Wintzell’s Oyster House to Hwy. 161

Tues., Feb.16, 3:00 p.m. – Gulf Shores – boat parade begins at 3:00 at Bear Point Marina and ends by 4:30 at LuLu’s Homeport Marina

Come to the beach soon and “laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)!”

If you do not have your Mardi Gras beach accommodations yet, we can help! Now through Feb. 17, 2010, you can stay five nights but only pay for three nights! If you can’t stay that long, or will be here during a different time frame, take a look at Meyer Real Estate’s many specials and hot deals to make your getaway more affordable.

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