Mardi Gras is almost here… Let the good times roll! We may not be down in “the Big Easy” (New Orleans) but you still can get a taste of Mardi Gras in the metro Washington, DC, area. Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”) is a holiday that’s part of the carnival festivities that start after the Christian celebrations of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and end on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, when the Lent season begins.
For many people, the carnival season is a time to let loose and feast before starting the Lenten fasts begin. But even those do not follow the religious traditions of abstinence join in on the festivities of carnival season, especially on Fat Tuesday. If you can’t make it to New Orleans, Louisiana; Mobile, Alabama; or other cities that celebrate in grand style, don’t worry, you can still enjoy the festivities locally!
Northern Virginia used to have a handful of Mardi Gras celebrations, the best-known one of which was the Clarendon parade. Unfortunately, that event has been on hiatus for a couple of years, with no signs of it returning anytime soon. But nearby in Washington, DC, The Wharf has a fun festival for the community! On Saturday, February 22, 2020, The Wharf celebrates Mardi Gras along the DC waterfront with various activities from late in the afternoon until early evening.
The event is kid-friendly, pet-friendly, and free to attend. The festival begins with a parade down Wharf Street at 4 pm featuring floats, dancers, mascots, stilt walkers, and more, and yes, you can catch colorful beads. Also featured is a dance party with live music, activities and crafts for kids, and restaurant specials, some of which include themed food and drinks. Starting at 5:30, enjoy live music, with fireworks to follow at 6:30. See details on The Wharf’s website.